Kobe Bryant on Tim Duncan potentially passing him with 6 rings: 'I'm not okay with that'

by Jun 16, 9:07 PM

The San Antonio Spurs captured their fifth NBA title with a dominant victory over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, getting Tim Duncan his fifth ring, matching the five belonging to Kobe Bryant, tops in the post-Michael Jordan era.

Ever the competitor, Kobe took notice, and wants no part of watching Duncan win his sixth, passing Kobe, offering up this comment in an interview with ESPN on Monday, via Mark Medina of the LA Daily News.

“If you ask me if I’m okay with Tim doing it, I’m not,” Bryant said. “I’m not okay with that.” 

The road back to the Finals looks to be a tough one for Kobe. The Lakers are coming off a dismal season which has them in the lottery, they have only four players under contract, and they don't even have a coach.

Meanwhile, Duncan is going to be in a great situation again next season, assuming he and Gregg Popovich do stick in San Antonio for another year.

Nov 14, 9:04 AM

Kobe on Duncan's stability with Spurs: 'I can't express to you how much I'm jealous'

by Nov 14, 9:04 AM
Danny Moloshok / Reuters

They entered the NBA a year apart, have made a combined 30 All-Star teams, and each have five NBA championship rings. How Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan have achieved their respective career successes couldn't be more different, though.

While Bryant's been a shoot-first, sometimes controversial superstar and at times the dominant face of the league, Duncan's had a quieter, steadier career, sometimes outside of the spotlight. They're both incredibly talented, and their longevity is remarkable, but the similarities don't extend very far beyond being described as good and around for a long time.

"Just talking with him, you could tell we were polar opposites," Bryant told Mark Medina from the Los Angeles Daily News for a lengthy feature on the two stars published Thursday.

Bryant was reflecting on meeting Duncan while filming a Sprite commercial in 1997, and went on to discuss their mutual respect for each other. Duncan, too, admitted the two are on good enough terms. That doesn't mean Bryant is happy calling their five rings a draw.

"I want a crack at him," Bryant said. "I would love to play the Spurs in the playoffs one more time."

That's probably not going to happen this year, with the Lakers mired in an awful start with almost no hope of making the postseason. Duncan, meanwhile, is in the final year of his contract and could retire following the season.

They've met in the playoffs on six occasions, with the Lakers taking 18 of 30 games and four of the series. Despite that, and the even number of rings, Duncan's teams have been slightly more successful, never once missing the playoffs in his career.

Head to HeadBryantDuncan
All-Star Games1614
Playoff Appearances1516
H2H Season Wins2027
H2H Season PPG24.819.4
H2H Playoff Wins1812
H2H Playoff PPG28.225.2

A lot of that is owed to the stability of the Spurs franchise, which has had Duncan and head coach Gregg Popovich as pillars that entire time, while the Lakers have rotated star teammates and head coaches alongside Bryant. That stability is something Bryant is envious of.

“I can’t express to you how much I’m jealous,” Bryant said. “I’ve been up and down.”

Though the Lakers have had a great deal of success, Bryant is correct that his path has been a more tumultuous one, while the Spurs have enjoyed a more steady path.

The two legends will square off on Friday at Staples Center, then again on Dec. 12 and Jan. 23. Sadly, those may be the final meetings between two of the foremost players of this era.