Kobe Bryant is “jealous” of Tim Duncan
Veterans Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan are part of the last dying breed of their NBA generation, but what makes them special even in this era is their ability to still have an impact on the game in their own respective ways. Duncan is fresh off his fifth championship with the Spurs, and is much closer to possibly earning a sixth than Bryant with Los Angeles.
In a feature from the LA Daily News’ Mark Medina on the two’s relationship, Bryant admits he feels envy towards Duncan’s situation with the Spurs,
Instead, the indisputable difference involves Duncan’s unmatched stability in playing for Popovich through his entire career, while Bryant has played for seven coaches.
“I’m in a system that allows me to play well,” Duncan said. “With the kind of teammates I have and players we put together, it’s not just on one person’s shoulders. We can spread it out and continue to win.”
Bryant enjoyed that luxury when he teamed with Shaquille O’Neal during the Lakers’ three-peat (2000-2002) and with Pau Gasol on back-to-back championship teams (2009, 2010). All of those teams featured the steady presence of Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson and trusted confidant Derek Fisher.
In between those title runs, Bryant played with the likes of Smush Parker and Kwame Brown for one missed playoff appearance and two first-round exits. Bryant wondered aloud what would have happened had Jackson, Gasol, Fisher and Lamar Odom stayed on his team longer.
“I can’t express to you how much I’m jealous,” Bryant said of Duncan’s career stability. “I’ve been up and down.”
Stability is the clear distinction between the two future Hall of Famers’ careers. The Spurs have prided themselves on a stable, consistent franchise and product while the Lakers have endured extreme transitions throughout the span of Bryant’s tenure. The jealousy will be especially real if Duncan is able to reach that sixth championship pedestal, which is where Kobe desperately wants to be in order to match Michael Jordan ring-for-ring and force an even bigger, more pressing discussion.