Over the course of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant has basically been neck-and-neck with fellow superstar Tim Duncan in terms of competing for championships.
The Lakers dominated the competition early in Kobe’s career winning three straight titles while playing alongside Shaquille O’Neal. Los Angeles struggled after Shaq was dealt to the Miami Heat giving the Spurs a window of opportunity that Duncan and company took advantage of.
Unfortunately for Duncan, the future Hall of Famer was stuck at a grand total of four titles for quite some time. Head coach Greg Popovich eventually figured out how to utilize a squad filled with aging veterans and as a result led the team to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances.
After the San Antonio Spurs beat LeBron James’ Heat in five games in the Finals last season, Duncan matched Kobe’s total of five NBA titles making the final years of their careers a race to sixth ring.
Kobe talked about Duncan matching his championship total and their rivalry over the years in the video above via Kobe Team:
Kobe asked about Tim Duncan. Responds: “5-5, I got it.”
“Pressure? There is always pressure on me. It’s no different to me. I enjoy the pressure. It’s been a great rivalry between myself and Tim.
“He’s a great guy and an incredible basketball player. I’m very honored that we kind of grew up together competing for championships.”
Duncan is entering possibly his last season in the NBA with the five-time NBA champion set to make $10 million with the Spurs. If San Antonio remains a title contender and Duncan continues to play well, seeing the face of the franchise return for the 2015-16 NBA season isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
As for Kobe, the superstar guard signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension with the Lakers back in November of last year. The consensus is that Kobe has signed his last contract with the team and will call it a career in two years time, but he has yet to announced that he’ll officially retire once his current contract expires.
At this point in time, Duncan has a decent shot of winning a sixth ring while Kobe enters a potentially extensive rebuilding process in Los Angeles. It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out for these two superstars in the twilight of their careers.
H/T to Kobe Legends
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