The Curious Case Of The Lakers And Spurs






HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – History will decide whose era (and empire) reigned supreme over the NBA and ultimately which franchise — between the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs — gets to stamp this generation in the league as “theirs.”

The case for each franchise is strong. There are Hall of Fame players, all-time great coaches, championship banners and lasting memories on both sides of the divide. It’s up to each observer to make their own determination as to whose body of work is stronger.

At a legends brunch during All-Star Weekend years from now, you’d love to be at the table with Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan as the conversation cranks up (with Duncan no doubt choosing to opt out of the conversation and Bryant no doubt proclaiming the dominance of his Lakers).

But there is no doubt that one outfit is handling the final years, months and, perhaps days, of their dominant era much better than the other. The Spurs remain mighty, among the Western Conference and NBA’s best while the Lakers are in the midst of one of the biggest meltdowns we’ve seen of a proposed championship team.

The two teams we’ll see on the floor tonight in San Antonio (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) couldn’t be more diametrically opposed. The Spurs are going about their business as always, oblivious to the outside world that loves to ignore them this time of year, all while plotting another deep playoff run in the twilight of the Duncan-Manu Ginobili-Tony Parker-Gregg Popovich era.

Bryant and his crew, two-time MVP Steve Nash and injured bigs Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, are limping through the meat of their season and staring at the very real possibility that this superstar experiment could end up with a burned down laboratory and a trip to the lottery. That’s a fate no one expected when the Lakers’ front office put this group together.

Yet that potential outcome has to be acknowledged at this stage of the season by the most experienced members of the Lakers’ contingent, as Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com details here:

The 38-year-old Nash also admitted he has seriously considered the possibility that the Lakers, despite all their preseason hype and championship aspirations, might not even make the playoffs this season.

“That motivates me every day,” Nash said. “There’s no guarantee [that the Lakers make the playoffs]. I think three or four weeks ago, people would have said, ‘Ah, it will get better.’ Now I definitely don’t think there’s a guarantee it will, so the only remedy is continue to work hard and give yourself a chance for it to get better.

“I obviously think with time, and that might mean through the summer, we can get better. But for this season, it’s definitely going to be a challenge to turn this around. … We got a number of things we got to try to improve on to get better, but one thing that we can’t accept is to take our foot off the gas and accept things. We got to continue to fight.”

Kobe Bryant, who entered the NBA in the same 1996 draft class as Nash, can commiserate.

“We were walking around at shootaround, and we just kind of looked at each other, and I said to him, ‘We thought it was going to be easier this year for once,'” Bryant said with a laugh.

Bryant refused to succumb to the circumstances, however.

“[Nash] is a little more reasonable than I am,” Bryant said. “That’s how we kind of bounce off of each other. I’m as stubborn as a mule. I’m going to keep driving this thing forward and so is he, but he tends to have more perspective than I do.”

It’s fair to say that Kobe’s stubborn streak might have cost the Lakers several more titles than the five they’ve accumulated during his time with the franchise. Had the Lakers kept their hoops trinity of Shaquille O’Neal, Bryant and Phil Jackson together as long as the Spurs have maintained their championship nucleus, there wouldn’t be an argument as to whose era it was.

The Spurs stuck to their beliefs — that you keep the core intact, exchange the periphery pieces when needed and always keep an eye out for young and emerging talent. The Lakers, meanwhile, have never been afraid to gamble big on the quick fix, cashing in at times (with the acquisition of Gasol, which led to back-to-back titles) and eating it at others (like now).

History will document both sides, their moves and each and every respective success and failure.

But right here, right now the verdict seems simple.

149 Comments

  1. kavika6 says:

    I’ve seen a lot of “could’a beens” written here. Can you imagine if the Spurs got Duncan straight out of high school the way the Lakers got Kobe? With a younger David Robinson and Sean Elliott the Spurs could have challenged if not beaten the Bulls in the late nineties.

    • Bryan says:

      late nineties the bulls weren’t even in the picture man. it was all lakers and knicks. then the spurs came around and dominated the rest. Spurs can’t be stopped.

  2. chris10237x says:

    No one can single-handedly win a championship. So stop trying to compare players through how many rings they have, I’d say the only player to accomplish that feat is Brian Scalabrine with the Celtics.

  3. W/E says:

    And the worst is yet to come, they are gunna be humiliated vs OKC on Friday

  4. Reality says:

    Man im not even a Kobe fan but wow i feel bad for this guy.

  5. specialfriedrice says:

    Brilliant article 10/10…Spurs all the way baby

  6. Joe Gallagher says:

    Basketball is a sport but watching basketball is a form of entertainment. And as far as entertainment goes the Lakers with Kobe and also with Shaq epitomized excitement. The Tim Duncan-led Spurs: snore..

    • Game Time says:

      I think when you have the attention span of a untrained dog then you can’t enjoy watching fundamental basketball.

      • Bryan says:

        Hah, that’s so true. Who doesnt think the Admiral and Duncan were entertaining? you should get slapped in the mouth for saying the spurs were boring.

  7. big g says:

    kobe with 81 points
    talking about scoring machine
    so was karl malone -second in all time scoring leader, with no ring, and not even close to
    81 point performance
    same about iverson
    so you guys do the comparisons before putting kobe down
    the guy works hard, and is still breaking records 17th year in the league
    most guys are sitting on the bench hoping for a 1 minute action in the game at their 17th year
    if they even make it that long
    people you might not like him but at least you can sho a little respect to what hes acomplished
    AND IM NOT EVEN A LAKER FAN OR A KOBE FAN

    • specialfriedrice says:

      Kobes scoring spree seasons…led to the Lakers worst performances over the reg season and the playoffs during this 10 year space in history …let’s recap that time…2005 Kobe get his team to his glorious self…shots a lot…Lakers DONT make the PLAYOFFS…2006 Kobe shoots it ALOT more…Lakers in and out of the playoffs in the 1st round…2007 Kobe likes to shoot it, did anyone notice…Lakers in and out in the 1st round again…Meanwhile the Spurs…had 2 champions during Kobes binge…they have’nt missed the playoffs since 1997 and had a have the NBA record for consective 50 win seasons…Spurs all they way baby

  8. Lakerfan says:

    Let me say right at the outset that the San Antonio Spurs are and have been an extraordinary team. I’ve watched the team since my age was in single digits–about thirteen years ago–and I’ve always been amazed at what they have accomplished. Their demeanor on and off the court is exemplary, their unselfishness something for any sports fan to enjoy, and their steady/consistent performance worthy of the highest praise. Having said that, I believe the current debate, about which of the two teams has been more dominant this generation, is a manufactured one.–it is far more hype than substance. NBA fans and pundits simply want to make this rivalry far closer and more heated than it really is. The numbers however speak for themselves: the Lakers 5 titles vs. San Antonio’s 4; Lakers 7 Finals appearances to the Spurs 4. It’s the second statistic that I believe really settles the debate. While some argue that the 100% finals record of the Spurs sets them apart (and it is something to be lauded), I believe this is misguided. The Lakers have gone to the finals nearly twice the amount that the Spurs have over the last decade-and-change and whether we like to admit it or not, getting to the finals is a success in of itself (while its not enough to be second when compared to first, it is better to be second that third or fourth, etc). So while the spurs have been consistent in the regular season, the Lakers have been more consistent in the playoffs. In the previous 12 Finals, the Lakers have been in more than half of them. So lets be clear about this, the Lakers have been the team of this generation, while San Antonio has been a fantastic second.

    • Reality says:

      very objective and well written.

    • Game Time says:

      The Lakers also missed the 2005 playoffs and Spurs have not during Duncan’s time. Also, to credit the Lakers for still winning through change is kind of a one-sided view. They only won when the change meant having the acquisition of a top 7ft player; Shaq being the 1st and Gasol being the 2nd. The Spurs have had the same stars and only changed out their role players. That to me is more respectable than a team always going after the hot talent. If this was simply about rings then the article wouldn’t even need to be written, but the question is which team do YOU feel has had the more admirable or memorable history. There is no right or wrong answer, but as fans (or naysayers) we will argue our points to the end.

  9. Clippersfan4471 says:

    AS a Clippers fan I sincerely hope that the Fakers make the last spot in the playoffs for 2 reasons:
    1. Just want to see either the Clips, Spurs or Thunder sweep them in the first round; and
    2. Fakers do not deserve a shot at a lottery pick….EVER!!! (although I’m guessing they’ve probably traded it away somewhere??)

    • big g says:

      most of you guys are funny
      especially clippersfan4471
      talking about lakers as being fakers lmfao
      you realize that fakers have 16 championship
      thats the most in nba not counting bostons 17 – which i dont know how many came from the league only haveing like 12 teams
      compared to your clippers or should i say flippers at 0 lmfao
      all the flippers do is trade away their best players look at their history
      im surpirsed they still have kept few good players

  10. JSweet says:

    Oh man, who knew the Lakers could be this bad. How deep is the draft this year? Cause those draft picks are starting to look pretty good.

  11. cadroy says:

    Kobe was as instrumental as Shaq especially in repeat and 3peat years,maybe more.They are all available in youtube.Kobe and Duncan are still beasting,much appreciation for them.Go Lakers!

  12. WHO CARES?????? THIS GAME IS POINTLESS! HEAT ARE GOIN TO REPEAT ANYWAYS! NO ONE CARES ABOUT A 15-19 TEAM THAT CANT EVEN BUY A WIN OVER THE MAGIC LOL

  13. lebron james says:

    i think Kobe is overrated… he cant even win with all the talent he has around him… and they are not even that OLD… dwight is in his prime, gasol is also good to go, Kobe is 34 for Christ sake… Michael was winning championships at 38 – come on now… no one can get along with ball hog Kobe… they should get rid of everyone in LA and Kobe can shoot every ball and score 81 again

    • BIGMatta23 says:

      Jordan was born Feb 1963 and won his last chip in June 1998. Correct me if my math is a little off but that would make him 35 when winning last chip..

  14. RSS vs RSS says:

    I just get sick and tired of how folks be saying Kobe would’ve never won without shaq have you guys ever thought the other way around shaq got swept in the finals when he was in orlando never got a ring in 4 years, never got a ring in Phoenix with Nash or Boston with Pierce, during his 4 years in Miami he got one in 2006 with the Heats which had Wade, alonzo mourning, Payton, J williams, shooting 3’s kapono and antoine walker coming off the bench so to sit and say if Shaq had another player other than Kobe he have more rings I beg to differ. Allen Iverson was the first option on his team, same with Ray Allen, Tracy mcgrady and other guards of that era so do you seriously think shaq would’ve wanted it that way NO No, he knew he had to take the second option when he went to play in Miami while Kobe was first option before he left that’s why they were clashing at time in LA. So they can blame it on the media, their ego, or even Phil but Kobe is a SG like it or not it’s job to score, when the Pistons beat LA in the finals it was Kobe that saved them from getting swept not shaq cause ben wallace and rasheed wallace had his behind on lock. As far as tonight match up it will be an interesting game as usual seeing Kobe and his struggling team try to find ways to win games to secure a spot in the playoffs and silence the critics.

  15. VAn Al says:

    Kobe is just too selfish and this is why i dnt think he will ever bond with Howard (not sure if he will resign)! the lakers wont make it to the playoffs….kobe is the main reason even if he is averaging 30+ points..the lakers need energetics players hopefully next year…Lebron is better than Kobe just because he shares hahaha @miami fan :D

  16. Gianluca says:

    5 rings in 10 yrs and 7 finals appearances.. nuff said.

  17. lets not forget popovich is the best coach in the nba today too

  18. flamar says:

    if d-rose comes back that is it. everyone is dead. no Kobe or Duncan. not even Lebron or KD or any other great players can beat Chicago’s defense, and sometimes, offense. d-rose comes,then everyone is in danger.

  19. warsame says:

    duncan has a good resume because of his TEAM… while kobe has a better resume because of his individual talen and work

    PEACE

  20. W/E says:

    WEll imagine IF Iverson and Kobe swaped places back in the late 90s, Iverson playing with Shaq while Kobe playing with the weak 76rs…Kobe was really lucky to play alonside Shaq, thell me the chances of Kobe winning anything back then if it wasnt for Shaq…am sorry but hes overated, Top 5?!? thats a bad joke really, everyone enjoys watching, him the main reason being that he copies Jordans game, and that guy was sth else really,Kobe is talented will never be top 5 sorry,Duncan was more valuable for the Spurs than Kobe was for the Lakers back in their championship years.

  21. warsame says:

    yall acting like duncon carried his team to those wins LMAO it was team effort on the other hand kobe carried the lakers to chips, and wins look at their stats stop ignoring whats obvious

    • ab-ball says:

      look at gasols stats in the lakers championship years to see who carried who

      • specialfriedrice says:

        so true…Gasol was the star in the Lakers 2009 and 2010 back to backs…he gets no credit at all…game 7 in 2010 Vs Boston…was did Kobe shot again like7 for 32 or something…lucky for the Lakers bigs…Gasol you get a big pat on the back from me…you deserve so much more respect…

    • Bryan says:

      WHO brought them that team effort? WHO helped them win 4 rings? Remember, the Spurs weren’t even a recognized team before duncan got there. Common people READ!!!!! Stop backing up such an overrated team and get with the facts. warsame=Another ignorant Laker fan

  22. San Antonio Who? says:

    People never mention the Spurs when talking about power house teams. Do you honestly think 10 years from now they will be in the conversation? All they will be remembered for are highlight clips of Derek Fisher hitting a shot with .04 second left on you.

    • zgillet says:

      Don’t forget McGradys 13 points in 33 seconds.

    • TG says:

      you must be an immature NBA fan

    • Bryan says:

      How can you say that when for the last 16-17 years the Spurs have outlived every other NBA team to this day? They will never die, and if there IS an estimated range, i’d give it another 30 years. HUH, just another ignorant Lakers Fan. Go read your books and read the stats, it’s simple math.

  23. Jman says:

    For all you imbeciles that think Shaquille carried the lakers to 3 rings by himself are completely stupid, jealous, and obviously ignorant. Shaquille of coarse is the most dominant big man there has ever been but his free throw shooting was horrendous and he fouled out on a consistent basis. What made Shaquille so great is that there was another superstar who came into his own with his hard work ethic that also carried this team yea Kobe, and even D-Wade when he was in Miami. Without Kobe he wouldn’t have those 3 rings. There was a reason why couldn’t win anything with Orlando… People need to give Kobe the respect he deserves whether you like him or hate him, you can’t deny him as the best player of his era.

    • Mino says:

      Sure Kobe was an Important piece, but he only really carried the lakers to titles twice, while duncan did 3 times.

    • J-Short says:

      Like this a lot , and I do think that Kobe and other starts he is not the only one gets into it with the refs way to much.

      Kobe makes mistakes, there is no such thing as a GOAT if so where is the trophy so i can watch the presentation. And we can stop playing NBA games.

      But if you love the NBA game like i am sure we all do then you have to respect Kobe’s greatness and addition to the game.

      People never bring up the thought of would Shaq have won a title without Kobe as those 00-02 Laker teams where constructed.
      Good blog

  24. Fire dantoni says:

    Hopefully next season they’ll have a new coach. Mike dantoni is terrible and I’m not even a lakers fan.

    • pakyaw says:

      LOL!…”im not even a lakers fan” no need to hide if youre lakers fan,it says on youre screen name..

  25. Bryan says:

    look at the stats, TD is the best power forward to have ever played the game, and even now is playing like he’s twenty. and for kobe, sure he’s almost 40 years old and is still putting up anywhere from 30-40 ppg, but there is no comparison. First of all look at the two cities. LA and SA. LA is a very popular city around the U.S and gets hype from everywhere. Then look at SA. Who ever hears about SA being the best city to live in, its not bursting with celebrities or hype. Its all a popularity thing. LA is popular, SA is not. but that doesn’t make LA any better than SA. Bryant came into an already developed team and managed to continue to pull the weight of their bunch, but Duncan had to start from scratch. Sure there was the Admiral and Elliot, but they couldn’t drive the Spurs team themselves. Duncan pulled this underrated Spurs team from 1999 to today and continues his effort to win. He helped the Spurs to win 4 rings, 2 with an aged Admiral and the other two singlehanded. Really the 2003 championship was owed to Duncan because if anyone could remember, the Admiral was playing off an injury. So Duncan won the 2003, 2005 and 2007 singlehanded. Look up his stats and it proves Duncan has out-played Kobe for the last 16 years straight. He’s just considered the “underdog” when people compare the two. Remember, great players are rewarded for their actions not their looks and or teams. We all know who’s better, some just hate to admit it. The NBA has been in the Duncan Era for the last 16 years. Sorry kobe.

  26. Greg says:

    Hands down, Kobe is much more dominant than Tim Duncan in 3 h-so important areas:
    1) alienating team mates
    2) not TRULY utilising his team
    3) lacking real leadership

    Can you imagine if Tim had a Dwyane Wade??? Scary…(By the way everybody, David Robinson was 33 when Tim was a rookie…)

  27. Shower says:

    PLAYER G FG FT PPG PTS
    1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1,560 15,837 6,712 24.6 38,387
    2. Karl Malone 1,476 13,528 9,787 25.0 36,928
    3. Michael Jordan 1,072 12,192 7,327 30.1 32,292
    4. Wilt Chamberlain 1,045 12,681 6,057 30.1 31,419
    5. Kobe Bryant 1,195 10,643 7,647 25.5 30,510
    6. Shaquille O’Neal 1,207 11,330 5,935 23.7 28,596

    • specialfriedrice says:

      now add FGA…
      1. 28,307…55%
      2. 26,210…51%
      3. 24,537…49%
      4. 23,497…53%
      5. 23,454…45%
      6. 19,457…58%

      Kobes career best FG% mark is .469…

  28. eckounltd says:

    My old school team. Spurs is been showing since 6 years ago that is better than lakers. I say it case closed

  29. jfabian says:

    So, David Robison’s 23.5 ppg and 13.8 rpg en 1999 Playoffs (and Championship year) doesnt count?

  30. Dontclickme says:

    Bit.ly/kobevsduncan here’s a great comparison of KOBE VS DUNCAN

  31. Josh says:

    Kobe is a bigger superstar than Duncan, no doubt. This is because Kobe differs from Duncan in 3 major areas: he plays in a bigger market (Laker), he’s flashy (guards have become most exciting players in NBA), and he’s got a ridiculous drive.

    HOWEVER, he is not a bigger superstar because he is a better basketball player. Duncan has never gotten in the way of the Spur’s success. Kobe has.

    As for the Lakers vs. the Spurs, it really comes down to everything beyond the core players of both teams. Spurs have just surrounded them with a contending team and the Lakers have not. When the Lakers do get the right pieces…it will be all on Kobe as to whether the team has good chemistry and competes for a title. Notice that this question of team chemistry is never an issue with Duncan.

  32. christopher says:

    The San Antonio Spurs are one of the best NBA teams in the legue but they like to stay under the rader they dont care about all the fame they got four chapionships with the same sqaud after the playoffs the spurs were getting all the hype of the sharing the ball and now other teams are starting to share the ball because they saw how much wins the spurs got they made to the playoffs swept the clippers and jazz and were beaten out by Okc then Okc starting sharing the ball thats why there number one in the Nba Last year the spurs were number one tied with the bulls.

  33. JohnMitchum says:

    This is the most boring debate ever. The Lakers drama or the spurs dirty boring game? The 2000’s have been the most disapointing decade in NBA history no doubt.

  34. Eric Rey says:

    Timmy. Easy. The greatest power forward to ever play the game, as well as the most under appreciated superstar of ALL TIME. Not just his generation. While Kobe was driving coaches out and forcing management’s hand to pay for all stars around the league, Tim was quietly doing his thing in Texas. Winning 50 games for 15 straight seasons. That would be he best winning % in NBA history, folks. 4 Rings. 3 Finals MVPs. 2 Regular Season MVPs. People also forget he made the all-defensive team like 13 times in a row and is actually still playing D at a really high level. You’d be lucky to see Kobe even get past half court when he plays defense. Not to mention he had Shaq for 3 of those rings he won. All in all, if you look at their career as a whole.. I’ve gotta go Duncan.

    • warsame says:

      its not like duncon carried his team to win idiot go look at his stats dont forget about parker and manu and Co.

      • Eric Rey says:

        Okay throw them in. At least the Spurs got them through the DRAFT. Didn’t have to go out and buy a superstar. Unlike some other squads………..

      • ab-ball says:

        yes he did moron look at the 99 champinship and the 03 championship tim did it by himself

  35. esli eguia says:

    SPURS ARE GOING TO WIN NO QUESTION ABOUT IT

  36. esli eguia says:

    spurs r going to win no question about it

  37. arun says:

    Wow. Lakers are finally going to get top 10 pick in NBA Drafts in 2013… Woooowww!!!

  38. Dwight Coward says:

    Phil Jax must be laughing watching this thing burn down.

    Jim Bus is an idiot and destroyed a championship team.

  39. Row says:

    Whoa, calm down bro.
    I think he was suggesting that had Shaq remained in LA he’d still be a force in the game today.
    The idea being that his souring relationship with LA and then his team hopping tore him down both mentally and physically, whereas if he had been involved in a Spur’s-esque like team, he’d not only have been a better player in his later years, but also still have some gas left in the tank even now.

  40. Vladimir says:

    TD is arguably the best PF that ever played the game, Kobe is perhaps arguably 2nd best SG and thats a big PERHAPS. TD brought 4 rings to a borderline franchise ( that did have some great players in the past, but besides that did nothing ), Kobe was riding the wave called Shaq for 1st 3 peat and than he had bunch of all star caliber players gathered around him for the second run… Rings, def Kobe>TD, individual awards TD>Kobe… In the past it was proven time and time again that TD is more valuable to his team than Kobe to his, kinda sums it all up. E.O.D.

    P.S. Shaq is so full of him self, every time i watch any show that involves him I’m expecting to see an explosion…

  41. Henrik Jensen says:

    Kobe is no where near the best player next to MJ, there are at least 5 players ahead of him; Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Hakeem Olajuwon. and there are at least 2 players just as good as him in: John Stockton and Oscar Robertson..

    • Jay says:

      dont forget wilt chamberlain and tim duncan

      • W/E says:

        lol Oscar Robertson is way above Kobe by far, the guy was sth else he had way better all around skills than Kobe and was a better scorer as well in his prime…

  42. Definitely not fair says:

    “It’s fair to say that Kobe’s stubborn streak might have cost the Lakers several more titles than the five they’ve accumulated during his time with the franchise.”

    I don’t think that’s fair at all. It implies Phil Jackson’s retirement and Shaquille’s departure where entirely his fault, which is not true. And winning titles is never a given no matter if the core stays intact or not. Just ask Boston (title runs spoiled by injuries), and San Antonio (injuries and poor post-season play).

    I’m not defending Kobe. I think he’s highly overrated as a player. He’s a fantastic scorer, but has never IMO elevated the play of his teammates or proven to be Jordanesque in his ability to translate his talent into wins without have other dominant players around him. But that statement is just silly, and completely unfair.

  43. Kamote says:

    Hype: Kobe over Duncan
    Truth: Duncan owned the “After MJ Era”, a slight win over Shaq :)

    After MJ’s skills and marketability, the NBA has been searching for the next MJ (for business purposes)… and Kobe is nearest to that (I won’t argue with Kobe fans who say Kobe is GOAT, not worth my time). Duncan was the most boring greatest player that have ever played, especially when the NBA has become more of highlights than basketball. Kobe’s game IS really good. But for me, Duncan deserved to own this era. He played smart and effective basketball, his game made his teammates better, from all-stars (Manu, Parker) to just effective but won’t mean much to other teams (Bowen, Ferry).

    There’s just a pattern for great players… you don’t need all-star team mates to win the ring. You develop them through your game. Worthy, Cooper were greats because of Magic, Bird made McHale and Ainge look good… MJ developed Pip while Kerr, Longley and H. Grant are valuable wearing the Bulls jersey… and even Isiah make the Bad Boys look good.

    Kobe’s game flourished with Shaq (like Wade). He wasn’t able to make effective players out of K. Brown, S. Parker, thus failing to be significant in the West post-Shaq. Then Pau came, a leader of the Spanish team (2nd only to US). Now, LAL got DH (3 straight DPOY) and Nash (2 MVPs), for Kobe to get his 6th ring. Again, Kobe is really good. But what if there’s no Shaq, no Pau, not playing in LAL?

    Meanwhile, a bottom-feeding Spurs team (injured Admiral) got TD, the Admiral returns, but its Duncan’s team… 1st. 2nd, 3rd, 4th rings was when Duncan led his team with a budding Parker, a Manu establishing his NBA status, a Bowen who was undrafted and Pop. All rings because of him.

    Duncan owned Kobe’s time. That’s just the truth about it.

    • Hm says:

      Duncan is second all time in career defensive rating after Gar Heard, who hadn’t even played half the minutes Duncan has. He was first in the league in three consecutive seasons (’04-’07), JUST LIKE Dwight Howard (no DPOYs though). This season he’s aiming for first again with the way he’s been playing. Him and Sanders will likely be exchanging the number one and two spot all season.

      Despite Duncan’s defensive prowess, Kobe has more All-Defensive nominations (despite never even ranking in the top 10). Go figure.

      • specialfriedrice says:

        yeah that Kobe and the All Def 1st team stat really makes my blood boil…he always seems to end up in the All Def 1st Team but also some never features in the overall votes for DPOY,,,seems fishy to me…dare i say over rated much…In fact the amount of All Def 1st selections Kobe now has must be getting close to the most overall selections…9 All Def 1st Team and and 3 All Def 2nd Team selections…don’t know where that puts him All Time but it’s acolades that are clearly not all deserved…

      • Jay says:

        actually both duncan and kobe have 9 all def 1st team and 4 all def 2nd team nominations….but duncan has also one all def 3th team nomination, so heas ahead of kobe in that area

      • Jay says:

        oh wait no, thats not right (thats duncans all nba team nominations). duncan has 8 all def 1 st team and 5 all def 2nd team…i’d say still ahead of kobe

    • kevin says:

      One stat I think tells who the best player is the adjusted +/- If you make a great team average your a bad player if you make a good team great your a great player and if you make a lousy team good like LeBron did with the Cavelers your a great player. Kobe cant make a good team with Pau Dwight, Nash good. I think Duncans +/- is good on every 5 man rotation he plays with, but this conversation is about the Spurs and Lakers the Lakers had more champoinships in the same time frame so I would have to say Lakers shared the Era and Duncan was a better player

  44. Micah says:

    Who cares about the spurs anyway?

    • foo says:

      not fans of teams that isnt even gonna make the playoffs

    • Shadowspinner says:

      People that like good team basketball and watching players that do more than jack up a huge volume of shots and whine at the ref if the defender even dares to look at them?

      Honestly, the Spurs are what most teams in the league shoud aspire to be – consistent winners, humble, and able to spot and develop talent. There is a reason that they’ve been a consistent threat for almost 2 decades now while other teams have been on a roller coaster.

    • NHbleedsGREEN says:

      Who cares about the Lakers?

    • Game Time says:

      Spurs fans.

  45. JPA says:

    kobe ​​is undoubtedly the best player next to Jordan and he will give a comeback.

    • Corey says:

      Uh… I would not put him as best player, even Michael is not the BEST. Maybe Top 5 shooting guards but not best. Your saying that Kobe is better then Dr. J, Bill Russell, Kareem, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird? Come on your delusional. There is a reason why Michael Jordan played so hard against Magic Johnson during the Dream Team scrimmages. Magic was the man to beat. There is a reason Magic vs Bird was a rivalry, because Bird was the only man who could compete. Russell vs Wilt was legendary, not to mention the way Dr. J brought the flash and hang time to the NBA. He is the godfather of all the moves you are seeing today.

      Kobe is great, Hall of Fame caliber. DEFINITELY not the GOAT. Too many great players before him for him to be GOAT. He wasn’t even the best player on his team during his first 3 championships, Shaq was. If you disagree go google who got the MVP during those seasons.

      Congratulations Lakers fan, you are just as bad as a Miami Heat bandwagoner.

      • zgillet says:

        “Your saying that Kobe is better then Dr. J, Bill Russell, Kareem, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird?”

        Yes. Michael is one higher.

    • Macky says:

      No he’s not. Even Lebron’s legacy is far greater than Kobe’s right now from an individual stand point. If you are talking about team achievements, sure Kobe has played on more championship TEAMs than Lebron. But lets look at individual for a second.

      Kobe 2 Finals MVPs, 1 MVP in 17 seasons.
      Lebron 1 Finals MVP, 3 MVPs, Runner up DYOP twice in 9 seasons

      Stop watching ESPN and actually look things up in prespective. You guys are so brain washed by the media. The NBA and NBA fans were not like this 10 years ago.

      Michael, Kareem, Wilt, Magic, Bird, Russell, Oscar Robertson, Hakeem, Shaq, and Duncan have more impressive legacies than Kobe. Kobe is only in the top 15 because of longeivity. He’s a volume scorer who lasted long. Allen Iverson would have been the same if he played for 17 seasons. A volume scorer with a lot of points. It’s not about points. Look at Kobe’s leadership. Would any all time great be on a losing team like this in a HUGE market like LA and the players he has with him? Are you guys that blind. It’s like Kobe can do NO WRONG what so ever. Gets all the credit for winning but none of the blame for losing. It’s not fair, wake up you idiotic brain washed Kobetards.

      • BIGMatta23 says:

        Macky…you da man!! Everything from “Stop watching ESPN” down is absolutely spot on!

      • specialfriedrice says:

        LOL 12/10 for that comment loved it

      • J-Short says:

        First i think there is no such thing a a GOAT NBA player, I believe great players for their own era’s and time. I cant say that one NBA star legacy is greater than another due to them playing in different era’s and in different prime of their careers.
        I do believe that some people for what ever reason may not like Kobe personally and they bring that thought process over to the court side of things. Kobe is one of the greats and he was more than a volume shooter ( even though he took his share of shots im sure), but to be unbiased he does belong to be mentioned along side of those great players.

        ” And I think that he is well respected by his fellow NBA players and prior NBA players, its just the Fan base that has personal spites with the guy”
        And no i dont think that he is any type of saint but i cant say he is the devil either. Most of these guys that we talk about are not ” good people all the time”
        Just a unbiased no name calling info.

    • Jay says:

      what about wilt? or bill russell? the big O?

  46. Max says:

    Sekou???Where is O’Neal???NOT in the same playing position as Duncan,so that is calling an ORANGE and APPLE. Just cannot compare Tim Duncan with “The Shaq”. Shaq did not have in his tank enough go,go to last as long a Duncan, Agree? Duncan landed in the land of Guarntees and stayed rooted, but Shaq, well he did not get the praise, he felt he deserved in Laker Land and again jumps back into FL. ONE Championship, with D, Wade, who received the MVP for that title, so Shaq brings his GREAT talent to the Valley, holds up 4 fingers to indicate ” I can bring the Suns 4 rings” Where are those rings, maybe Steve Kerr, the GM of the Suns at that time has the answer for those missing rings, Did Shaq deliver as Duncan???NOT. So Sekou, you are wrong, cannot even come close to making a comparsion between Duncan and Shaq!!!Shaq the “TANK” more show than lasting action. Just go a buy the “Shaq’s book” rethink your comparsion between the Shaq and Duncan. Shaq, kinda like the current Lakers, HE was visited by the “grim reaper of HEALTH”. Facts are Facts. Wounded birds, do not fly high and straight, but wilter and fall. AGREE???Shaq is gone and Duncan still remains!!! Enough said????

    • artifex says:

      First, the article is getting on Lakers and Spurs with Kobe and Duncan being the ones that remained through the decade, not on Shaq. And Shaq and Duncan not same playing position, cannot compare. They are both centers (though in recent years Duncan got listed as PF, he’s not).
      Then, it’s an off-comparison to say Shaq is gone and Duncan still remains.
      Well, Shaq came into the league 6 years earlier. He retired last year, so the question is, whether Duncan will remain in the NBA for 5 more years? Just 6 years earlier Shaq won with the Heat and I’d compare their role on respective teams, not the most dominant of the team but valuable part.
      Not to take away from Tim Duncan, I love him and have a lot respect for his Team First habit, which I always try to put on top. That’s why I think this ring counting and Batman and Robin talking is nonsense.
      True is, that if Shaq had stayed in LA with Jackson too, it’s quite imaginable, they’d gotten more titles there, since Kobe AND Shaq were great, the supporting cast too and also coach is not irrelevant. That’s why this article is about the TEAMS and their legacy…

    • chigchig says:

      Shaq also is older and came out a few years before duncan? so that might attribute to that.. duncan has only acouple years left.. he is less injury prone then shaq though but on the dominance scale can easily compare both.. both have 4 rings and both have 3 finals MVP, so each of them got carried to another ring. Both have had GREAT casts there entire career both have great career numbers. easily comparable big men

  47. jlovelee34 says:

    The Lakers are terrible this year but still Kobe 5 > Duncan 4 nice try though

    • Corey says:

      You mean Shaq 3, Kobe 2, Duncan 4.

      Cause Kobe definitely did not carry the Lakers for the first 3, that was Shaq. Kobe was the Robin to Shaq’s Batman. That statement is most evident when you look at the fact Shaq one a title with the Heat long before Kobe got Gasol so he could win one.

      • jlovelee34 says:

        oh so according to you, wade only has 1 ring. shaq has 3, manu 0, scottie pippen 0, dennis rodman 0, rajon rondo 0 because all the players I named were all this “Robin” during their championship run. Does that about sum it up or do you just feel like a dumb dumb?

      • zgillet says:

        Duncan had a ton of help in his championships.

    • Macky says:

      LOL RING COUNTING. Are you kidding me? Kobe played with Shaq who carried LA for the first 3. Duncan’s legacy is more impressive than Kobe’s. Ring counters are pretty dumb. That’s a team achievement. You guys make it seem like Kobe would have any rings if he played for a small market team like San Antonio. LOL you uneducated kobetards are just too funny.

      Tim Duncan has 2 MVPS and 3 Finals MVPs. Kobe has 1 MVP and 2 Finals MVP. But of course you’re going to count the 3 Shaq carried Kobe to. Yeah.

      • D says:

        Shaq carried them to the first 3 duncan is more impressive but its a team achievement. Whose the dummy!!!

      • D says:

        Sean elliott. Avery johnson david robinson. Manu ginobili tony parker robert horry brent barry i guess these guys had nothing to do with it!!!

      • zgillet says:

        Shaq wouldn’t have won the 3 rings without Kobe. Tell me I’m wrong, PLEASE.

      • Champ says:

        Gotta have 5 players on the court guys… therefore nobody can win it on their own, you gotta have help… sometimes someones help is better than anothers… Its too hard to compare these guys… Kobe is clutch as hell, if you need 5 points in 60 secconds he will get it.. but duncan would be solid all game so the spurs wouldnt be at that position…. its like comparing a carrot to a tomato, they are completly different. Kobe and Tim are not at all similar… Kobe has a huge Ego, Duncan does not… Kobe has the flashy sneaker adds, Duncan does not… All the kids wear #24 jerseys not #21… Tim has huge respect for the game, kobe does as well he just shows it differently… If you take Shaq and Pau out of kobes teams he wouldnt have a ring, you take Parker and Manu out and Duncan wouldnt either… Nobody can really “carry” their team completly you always have to have help

    • Shadowspinner says:

      Derek Fisher has 5 rings too – is he better than Duncan?

      Kobe was the primary option for 2 of those 5 rings.

      Duncan was the primary option for debatebly 2-3 of the 4 rings.

      Shaq was the primary option for 3 of his 4 rings.

      Jordan was the primary option for 6 of his 6 rings.

      See where I’m going?

      • Macky says:

        Yeah exactly. Right on the money. Ring counting is redic. You have to put it in prespective. Duncan lead the spurs to 3 out of 4 rings. That’s more impressive than Kobe leading the Lakers for 2 out of 5. You have to remember Shaq was the most dominant center in Finals history. If Duncan played along Shaq, you don’t think he would have got 5? I bet they would have got more actually. Especially because Duncan isn’t as selfish as Kobe is and he would put that “It’s him or me” BS to the Lakers.

      • lol says:

        jordan primary option of 6 rings? scottie pippen must be invisible then lol

      • LosAngelesLosers says:

        @lol, Scottie Pippen is one of the 50 greatest players of all time but he’s not the PRIMARY option of the chicago bulls in their championship years.. Still, its MJ, but still Pippen is just too good that why even though hes just the secondary option, he still made it on the 50 greatest players of all time..

      • J-Short says:

        Brother Jordan did not win a playoff series until he got Phil and Scottie involved. Much respect to MJ and ” all of the other great players” but no one can win one on their own with minimal talent. Or they will end up being like greats who played but never was on a team with other greats to compete for a title.

      • JACKSON11_FAN says:

        The argument is about whose era (and empire) reigned supreme over the NBA …
        If the Spurs were that good they should have had more than 4 rings… plain and simple.

    • TEE says:

      Let’s not forget how the Lakers were hardly relevant and even missed the playoffs when Shaq left up until Gasol arrived.

      • Bris says:

        most dominant center in finals history… guess you’re missing like 40 years of the NBA

      • zgillet says:

        They did a sh**load better than the Magic. AND Kobe went for 40 points in I don’t ever remember how many games.

      • artifex says:

        “Did better than the Magic” (when only Shaq was there)? Well, they got to the finals in 1995, just sayin…
        Though, Lakers didn’t make the finals the first 4 years Shaq and Kobe were there (96-99). It needs time for a TEAM to develop together. That happened for many (most?) teams in NBA history.
        Even Jordan entered the NBA in 1984, the 2nd main player of their titles, Pippen, was drafted in 1987. But it was 4 years later when they got their first title!

        MVP is for Most Valuable Player, it;s not an Only Valuable Player… (well, you could have said that of James in 2007, if the Cavs had won it all…)

      • J-Short says:

        You are right no great player rearely wins without other great players. Kareem when he was in Milwaukee did not win the title on his own. He had the Big “O” who in my opinion is greatly under rated.

        Laker Fan Since 87

  48. wakokoko says:

    How is it fair to say that Kobe’s stubborn streak cost them more than the five championships they won with him?

    Typical of these writers to join in the bandwagon. When Kobe performs like a beast (which he is still doing now, mind you) and wins champions, these writers are all chock-full of praises, claiming how they love Kobe and his intense competitive spirit. But now that the Lakers are at the tail-end of pretty much everything, they’re quick to dismiss them off and heap the praises to whichever team is winning.

    You call yourselves sports journalists? Then grow a pair and act like it. Show some journalistic integrity.

    • Corey says:

      You mean Shaq 3, Kobe 2, Duncan 4.

      Cause Kobe definitely did not carry the Lakers for the first 3, that was Shaq. Kobe was the Robin to Shaq’s Batman. That statement is most evident when you look at the fact Shaq one a title with the Heat long before Kobe got Gasol so he could win one.

      • warsame says:

        kobe was the robbin LMFAO kobe averaged as much as shaq actually kobe averaged more then shaq in their secon dand third title run, kobe was the reason lakers won i late games, remember how shaq sat off every late tight game, so kobe can take over LMFAO remember kobes gamewinners LMFA

      • jenkins says:

        lol you sure shaq didnt need wade for that one? talking about robin’s and then you pretend as if shaq wasn’t a robin with the heat. kobe got pau and… was batman? shaq got wade and was.. robin?

      • Carlos says:

        If you are trying to make an arguement about carrying a team then I would take Duncan’s 4 down to 3 seeing that he didn’t win Finals MVP in 2007. Also, I hate when people say carry the team as if they are the only ones on the the team. Without Kobe the Lakers wouldn’t have won championships, Without Robinson and Parker the Spurs wouldn’t have won championships.

      • Game Time says:

        @warsame, this is why people hate Kobe fans because they never know what they are talking about. NBA finals 2000 Shaq averaged 38pts, Kobe…15. 2001 NBA finals Shaq averaged 33pts, Kobe 24 (still a big gap for you to be saying Kobe avg the same). 2002 NBA finals Shaq 36pts, Kobe 26. Once again a VERY big difference in pts. The reason Shaq sat out late in the finals was because most the time Lakers were up by about 10pts and the game was theirs. Yeah Kobe was in playing what would be considered garbage time LMAO. As for game winners, please go back through all the finals with Shaq because Kobe had zero.

      • Hm says:

        Yeah, I remember Kobe’s playoff gamewinners. All seven of them. I also remember the 21 he missed.

      • specialfriedrice says:

        so true…Shaq dominence of the game during that 3 peat, was the stuff of Legends…Kobe was good but was an apprentice to the best player in the league at the time…seriously look at Shaqs Finals MVP numbers the are outstanding…if Shaq neverr had Kobe he would have taken another along for the ride with him…he was…Superman like…there is only one Superman and he was Shaq…

    • Shadowspinner says:

      Kobe won 2 rings as a number one option. His first 3 rings were primarily due to Shaq.

      No one has ever tried to deny that he’s an immensely talented scorer, but his ability to mesh with other players, especially all star level players, has been questioned more than once throughout his career.

    • Barb says:

      What is fair about the Lakers getting full page spreads when they lose and the Spurs ignored?

  49. Martin says:

    The Spurs should get an easy win especially if the Lakers have nothing in the post with all their big man injuries.

  50. RR says:

    The Lakers will bounce back after the all star break… and will be the dark horse in the playoffs… that would be may prediction

  51. Game Time says:

    I think Spurs have been a pretty consistent threat in the west from their 1st championship till now. Lakers have had two great eras of playoff runs, but have not always been a threat in the west. I actually don’t think you could put either one above the other without being bias. My preference would be the Spurs, but that’s because I don’t like the Lakers. See, there it is.

  52. daniel cruz says:

    RE HIRE MIKE BICKERSTAFF OR PHIL JACKSON. that s the only way LAKERS will enter the play off

  53. Mike says:

    Much credit is due to David Robinson’s deferential attitude when it was clear that Duncan would be taking his minutes and touches. That kind of example typified everything the Spurs try to engender in their culture, and still continues to affect his protege in Duncan. He’s approaching this the same way as the Admiral, be it due to his aging body or his pragmatic approach to team ball, or both. Bottom line is that his ego seems to not be a factor.

    Kobe? One of the top 5 greatest players of all time! And if I were him, I would have the same megalomaniacal outlook on “team” hoops. A legend to be sure, but all the hallmarks of a prima donna.

    • artifex says:

      Duncan is the BEST HEIR The Admiral could EVER have gotten!
      Both with the same attitude to the game. None of them mourning of “the other one got more attention/minutes/plays” etc.
      Just Admira(b)le and seldom in this league.
      Read an interview with Duncan once he was chosen, telling how excited he was to learn from Robinson. Well, he didn’t need to learn from him in terms of attitude… Loved him ever on. Though not directly Spurs fan, always respected them a lot, still do

    • Marco29 says:

      U are right, the Admiral is the man. My favorite BB player ever. He has led the foundations of this organisation with his competivtive and deferential attitude that now lives trough Duncan (still a great PF who accepted not to be the franchise player anymore), Parker (who could have gotten more $ elsewhere), Ginobili (who accepts his 6th man role while he would be starter elsewhere), Pop and the front office and I hope also in the future. Their lecagcy is not only the chanpionships but also the continiuous level of excellence (streaks of +50 wins and playoff qualifications).

      The Lakers are really at the opposite in terms of strategy and mindset besides being a far bigger market.

      Which proves that there is not only one way of winning in the NBA. Having a supsestar or a collection of stars like The Bulls and Lakers had and like Miami has today or a more balanced and collective team like houson in the mid 90s, the Spurs, the Pistons and also Dallas can bring you championships. Maybe OKC and Clips will follow this path in the future.

  54. slider821 says:

    I think the Spurs knack for drafting overseas talent for reserve roles has really been the difference maker.

    • the answer says:

      Lakers will get a W tonight.

      • TG says:

        @the answer that’s a joke right there. it’ll be a surprise if they actually do with injuries. LOSING STREAK will continue after tonight

      • Mind Reader says:

        I’ve told you before and i’ll tell you again that this week will be one week of HELL for the Lakers. I’m a Lakers fans and I dont like to say it but i have to admit that the Lakers owners are the ones who have big EGO. They dont admit that they made the wrong mistakes one after another. They listens to minority of idiotic fans and hired Mike D. If they wanted an offensive minded coach then why now everyone keeps complaining about the defense? Apparently they didnt care about the defense, which wins championship! They gotta admit their mistakes, take another loss and beg for Phil back!

      • James says:

        this problem wont be fixed no matter how much it seems like it will at times…too bad im short on money otherwise i”d bet more on the fact that the Lakers wont make the playoffs. looks like Kobe exit is gonna be worse than Phil was three yrs ago. how sad