Tim Duncan retires after 19 NBA seasons, with arguably more impressive records than Kobe Bryant. Just one of them: Every season with the Spurs his teams won better than 60% of their games.
Most impressive, he retired with an appreciative and dignified message, not an egocentric celebration, like Bryant, who led his team to the worst record in franchise history.
If you really think about it, the decision is clear-cut. Duncan was better in every respect:
Duncan won as many championships as Kobe with less of a supporting cast.
Duncan was better at his position than any other to this day.
Duncan was all about TEAM. Kobe was all about ME
Duncan’s nickname was “The Big Fundamental." Kobe’s was "Black Mamba.”
Duncan never pushed a player or coach out of the organization. Never gave the owner an ultimatum.
Duncan never wanted the fanfare, just championships.
Duncan didn’t cause problems off the court (i.e., Kobe in Colorado, Kobe and Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe and Mike D’Antoni).
Duncan took smaller compensation in order to improve team. Kobe did the opposite the last two years.
Kobe needed a “going-away party” from every city he visited. Duncan, just went away.
Lakers missed the playoffs. Spurs made the playoffs.
If I had to build a team around one individual, I would take Duncan over Kobe all day long.
It will be sad not to see Tim Duncan on an NBA court again. Besides being possibly the greatest power forward of all time, he also brought some much-needed class into the league. He was a championship player, a great teammate, and a shining example of what a professional athlete should be. Although he never played for a Los Angeles team, he was appreciated by everyone here who knows something about basketball.
Thanks Tim Duncan for some of the best basketball I was honored to watch.
Thanks baseball for honoring Tony Gwynn and Rod Carew and naming batting titles after them. Best pure hitters I have ever seen.
What these three guys had was humility and class. No egos, no front-page bad press, they just went out and did their job. Sports could use some more Duncans, Carews, and Gwynns.
After reading Andy McCullough’s article in Tuesday’s paper, I can see the handwriting on the wall for us Dodger fans: No more Kenley Jansen after this year. Why the Dodgers didn’t make more of an effort to sign him to a long-term contract before the club control ran out (a la Clayton Kershaw) is a mystery. Couple that with the aborted attempt to bring in Aroldis Chapman as his replacement and you have another homegrown player about to leave in free agency while we get nothing in return. But wait, I’m sure Andrew Friedman and his fellow analytic gurus can fill the void just like they have after letting Zack Greinke leave town. The 1988 highlights are getting grainier by the day.
Can you imagine if the Dodgers had re-signed Zack Greinke? Right now they would have two aces on the disabled list being paid $70 million. Hopefully, Kershaw will be back (no pun intended) shortly, but Greinke appears to have chronic injuries that could keep him out longer. Perhaps Andrew Friedman was still feeling the effects of Chad Billingsley’s contract when he decided not to sign Greinke to a six-year contract.
Harris J. Levey
As the Dodgers get ready for the second half, I feel Dave Roberts should make two changes in the starting lineup. The lack of scoring runs in bunches and failing to hit with runners in scoring position seems to be due to not having the right players batting when the opportunity arises. The “book” says that your best hitter bats third, and that should be Corey Seager. The “home run hitter” bats fourth, and that should be Justin Turner. Adrian Gonzalez should be batting fifth, not fourth, since he has only seven home runs. A manager who goes strictly by the book with his pitchers should do the same with his hitters.
Don’t forget Stern’s role in Lakers’ failures
In response to all your negative articles, comments and letters concerning the Lakers and Buss family: You’ve got it all wrong. This is the first year and chance the Lakers have a fair chance to repair the damage former NBA Commissioner David Stern did to them. I ask you this, if Chris Paul was on this team today, like he should have been, how many of the negatives would you have been able to print about the Buss kids? I say almost none!
Now that Kobe Bryant has retired, the draft is done and the Lakers have again whiffed in free agency, can we please get to the important business of commissioning a statue of Elgin Baylor to reside in front of the Staples Center?
This oversight has gone on long enough.
Maybe this team could mentor the Lakers
There is a team that plays at Staples Center with multiple championship banners. It has had former Lakers as head coaches, had the late Jerry Buss as its owner, and has had a plethora of superstars over the years. Yes, it is the Los Angeles Sparks. This team is actually a pleasure to watch as they play a team-oriented game and don’t rely on the individual talents of just one player. Furthermore, they don’t have players take videos of other team members, causing rifts on the team. Perhaps their big brothers, the Lakers, can learn a thing or two from them and take a step in returning to prominence.
The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.
Mail: Sports Viewpoint
Los Angeles Times
202 W. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Fax: (213) 237-4322