Who had the Better Career?
To those of you that don’t know I am a big Kobe Bean Bryant fan. I always stick up for Kobe whenever given the opportunity, I remember countless arguments that I have had at the lunch tables in high school defending Kobe, but I’ve come to realize that in my opinion Tim Duncan had the better career. Now don’t get me wrong Kobe is no slouch, but man I think Tim Duncan has got him beat.
Duncan has never missed the playoffs in his career. He’s only had one season in which he did not achieve 50 wins, and that was a lockout shortened season in which only 50 games were played. In that year they also won a championship.
He beat LeBron’s super team and should have beaten him twice if it were not for the heroics of Ray Allen. He beat them at the age of 37.
Another reason Duncan had the better career is because he was a bit better than Kobe in his latter years. Tim Duncan towards the end of his career was a vital part of a championship team, Bryant was not.
Let’s not forget that for his whole career he was the best player on his team that was consistently a championship contender, and Kobe was not always the best player on his team. Kobe took some time to develop into the star that he was, while Duncan seemed to be a star from his very first season.
When comparing all-time greats in the NBA, accolades are very important. Bryant has 5 NBA championships, 2 Finals MVPs, a regular season MVP, he’s an 18 time All-Star, he has been on a All-NBA team a total of 15 times, he has been on an NBA All-Defensive team 12 times, and twice he’s been a scoring champion. (landofbasketball.com)
Duncan is also a 5 time NBA champion, he has 3 Finals MVPs, 2 regular season MVPs, he’s been an All-Star 15 times, he’s been the rookie of the year, has been an All-NBA selection 15 times, and an NBA All-Defensive team selection 15 times. (landofbasketball.com)
When ranking players careers’ championships aren’t the only thing that we should look at, but it is arguably the most important aspect when we’re talking about star players. Duncan has more championships and more MVPs than Bryant. Duncan was the best player on his team for virtually his entire career.
With all that being said Bryant still has a solid argument for having a better career than Duncan. For one Bryant has been in more NBA Finals than Duncan, Bryant was a dynamic scorer, and Duncan certainly didn’t have the downs that Bryant had in his career.
Some of the numbers that Bryant put up were astronomical in the years after Shaq left. Bryant put 81 points in a game, that it something that Duncan never got close to.
Duncan also has had the luxury of playing with 2 future Hall-of-Famers for the vast majority of his career. Even when he first started he played alongside David Robinson. Bryant has undoubtedly played with some great players, but Duncan has certainly played with more Hall-of-Famers in his career.
Duncan also never had to go through some of the things that Bryant went through off the court from a rape allegation, to the beef he had with Shaquille O’Neal, and other drama he had with Phil Jackson and the front office.
Some people might say that all these issues were started by Bryant and shouldn’t be factored in when ranking careers. I believe it should because I’m positive that many other stars going through what Bryant went through would have cracked.
Regardless of what was going on off the hardwood Bryant still had a very successful career. We’ve seen these same scenarios derail people from super-stardom, and Duncan never had to go through that.
O’Neill went on to win a championship without Bryant and the media really tore into Kobe. The narrative was then that he needed Shaq to win championships, ad that Shaq carried him. Many people believed that it was his fault that the dynamic duo broke up, and that he was the problem in L.A. Some people believed that if it were not for his stubbornness that the
Lakers would have been able to win a lot more championships with Shaq in LA.
He had to go through a point in time in his career where he really had to prove himself to everybody. Something that Duncan never had to do.
Many people will say that Bryant had a better career because watching his game was a lot more exciting. I much rather watch tough contested fading threes, and dunks on 7-footers than Duncan doing 2 jab steps and then making a bank shot. Bryant’s game resonates with an audience more, but Duncan always got the job done and had the greater career.
When you look at the accolade comparison it is very similar, but I just have to give it to Duncan because he was just the the main guy on his team for much longer than Bryant was. Bryant has said that the Lakers would have won 10 championships in a row if not for the Spurs and Tim Duncan (mysanantonio.com).
That just goes to show the level of greatness that the Spurs have sustained for so long. They were a legit championship contender for virtually all of Tim Duncan’s career while he was the best player on that team doing everything on both ends. Even the latter part of his career with aging veterans, and scrappy spot-up shooters he was still able to keep the Spurs in the championship conversation while in a very tough Western Conference.
It hurts to say but Tim Duncan has had the better career than Kobe Bryant.