Both Byrant and Duncan played in the same generation with latter making his NBA debut a year after Bryant. The first-round draft picks of 1996 and 1997 ended their illustrious careers in 2016. Both won the titles five times in their careers. However, Smith gave Duncan the edge while talking about the player who has had the better career.
“I have to say Tim Duncan, with all due respect to my man Kobe Bryant,” said Smith. “When you consider the model of consistency that Tim Duncan was able to put forth — David Robinson has a title because of Tim Duncan. Tim Duncan is a five-time champion, as that chart just showed, just as many titles as Kobe Bryant, more NBA Finals MVPs. You’ve got to take that into consideration the fact that he is universally recognized as the greatest power forward to have ever played the game, a 10-time All-Defensive First Team player.”
Welcome to the Hall of Fame 🙌
Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan headline the 2020 Class. pic.twitter.com/PDuQL9qkYP
— ESPN (@espn) April 4, 2020
Fellow NBA analyst picked Kobe Bryant ahead of Tim Duncan
While Smith picked Duncan ahead of Bryant, fellow analyst Max Kellerman felt otherwise.
“I have to go (with) Kobe Bryant. Charles Barkley’s right. Kobe Bryant is the closest thing we’ve ever seen to Michael Jordan,” he said. “One of the reasons (the Lakers) were perceived the way they were, the primary reason, is Kobe was perceived as the best player in the game. And by the way, Tim Duncan was in the game back then, and in his prime.”
Bryant and Duncan will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame in August along with Kevin Garnett. Along with them, 10-time WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings will be a part of the class of 2020. Other names include four-time National Coach of the Year, Eddie Sutton and two-time NBA Champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich. The Hall of Fame will also honor three-time NCAA National Championship Coach of Baylor Kim Mulkey, five-time Division II National Coach of the Year Barbara Stevens, and longtime FIBA executive Patrick Baumann.