Year after year, the same names are always compared when discussing the greatest player in NBA history. There is Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. However, a new contender has emerged: Tim Duncan, who has had quite the career thus far.
In his 17 years with the San Antonio Spurs, Duncan has amassed five NBA titles, three NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards, and two regular season Most Valuable Player Awards. Unlike Jordan, Bryant and James, Duncan is the only one of the previously mentioned players to win multiple championships in nonconsecutive years. He has proven his consistency throughout a long career.
Duncan has also made multiple appearances in NBA All-Star games and has often found himself on the All-NBA First Team. Duncan’s success is comparable to Bryant and James, yet he rarely steps into the spotlight.
Like Duncan, Kobe Bryant also has five NBA titles and won all of these titles while playing for one team. However, Kobe has one less Finals MVP Award and one less regular season MVP Award.
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Kobe is known for his acrobatic shots and clutch play during the fourth quarter of games. He is able to completely take over a game and is better at doing so than most other players.
Unfortunately for Kobe, one must also remember that he played with superstar center Shaquille O’Neal in winning his first three titles from 2000-2002. However, he earned his two Finals MVP Awards with his next two titles in 2009-2010. Bryant’s importance to the Lakers’ most recent championship victories solidifies his spot as one of the best players of all time.
Although not as decorated as Duncan and Bryant, LeBron James will always be one of the best. LeBron is a once in a lifetime player who uses his impressive power and speed as well as a vast basketball IQ to dominate his opponents.
LeBron has been the NBA Finals MVP Award winner for the two championships he won with the Miami Heat. LeBron has also notched four regular season MVP Awards. James is currently the best player in the league and it is easy to see why.
He is able to turn any team he plays for into a championship contender. Not many players can do the same. James will most likely be the last of these four players to retire, so there is more time for him to leave his mark on the game.
Although Duncan, Bryant and James are all great, it is hard to argue that any of them are truly better than Michael Jordan.
Jordan won six championships with the Chicago Bulls. If that isn’t enough, he was the Finals MVP for all six of his championship victories. What’s more, Jordan is a perfect 6-0 in the Finals.
In addition, Jordan played in 14 All-Star games during his 15 years of playing. He was named to 10 All-NBA First Teams, is a member of the All-NBA Defensive First Team nine times, and is a 10 time scoring champion. Essentially, Jordan was able to do it all.
We can go on and on about who the best is between Jordan, Bryant, James and Duncan. We must recognize their greatness when thinking about basketball because there may never be players quite like them again.