‘It was an Honor’: Tim Duncan Opens Up on Competing Against Kobe Bryant

Published 05/14/2021, 4:36 PM EDT
022738.SP.0115.lakers7.WS Lakers guard Kobe Bryant during the National Anthem at the Staples Center Monday against the Vancouver Grizzlies. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Getting inducted into the Hall of Fame is probably one of the biggest achievements any basketball player could dream of. Not every star gets a chance to make it to the revered Hall of Fame. The 2020 Class is no different. Two of the best players of the 2000s are headlining the event Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant.

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Duncan and Kobe were probably the finest players of their generation. While Duncan showed the combination of physicality and skill, Kobe was a two-way beast. Be it scoring or locking down other players, Kobe could do it all.

Playing for two of the biggest teams in the Western Conference in San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers, Duncan and Kobe had their fair share of battles.

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Tim Duncan speaks about competing against Kobe Bryant

One of the biggest competitors for Kobe and Co. were the San Antonio Spurs. With a big three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, the Spurs and the Lakers matchup was a slugfest.

Given the intense rivalry between the Purple and Gold and the Spurs, Duncan and Kobe often played against each other. The 15-time All-Star, who is being inducted to the Hall of Fame, spoke about competing against Bryant. In a recent press conference, the 5-time NBA champion spoke about how Kobe helped him reach new heights.

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“The greatest competition brings the best out of you and that’s what he always did. You always had to be at your best and bring the best from start to finish if you are playing against him or any of his teams.”

He added, “I think that’s what I appreciate about or remembering playing against him and being in the court with him. A fierce competitor and always demanding more of his team and his teammates than probably was possible.

“He wanted to win that much, he wanted it that much, and it was an honor to share the court with him.”

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Kobe might have been a rival to many greats, but he certainly was a catalyst in others trying to push themselves. Duncan was surely one of them and probably ended up becoming the greatest to ever play the game.

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Aditya Mohapatra

862 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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