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Tim Duncan, Like Kobe Bryant, Retired Exactly the Way We Thought He Would

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Tim Duncan, Like Kobe Bryant, Retired Exactly the Way We Thought He Would

Photo: Scott Strazzante, The Chronicle

Photo: Scott Strazzante, The Chronicle

Photo: Scott Strazzante, The Chronicle

Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant were not linked together in the same breath with one another when they entered the NBA. Duncan was a rookie in 1997, Kobe already had one season, 71 regular season and nine playoff games under his belt with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Of course once they both found their stride, they would go on to become NBA legends and provide fans with highlights to reflect on for years to come in their own unique ways.

Speaking of reflecting on highlights, when it comes to Tim Duncan, there isn’t a singular play of his that I could quickly recall right off the top of my head. Obviously, there are plenty of great plays, there just weren’t any that came to mind.

Conversely, Kobe had a lot of impressionable images. There’s the 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors. As a Houston Rockets fan, this pill will always be hard to swallow.

You get the picture. Yao definitely wasn’t the only victim either. Kobe had that flair and big personality all the way to the end when he dropped 60 on the Utah Jazz in his NBA finale.

As for the first memory I have of Duncan after he left Wake Forest, here it is. I kid you not.

That’s a classic.

My second memory of Duncan is a classic for the sheer ridiculousness of it all.

Joey Crawford just being Joey Crawford. This was arguably one of his all-time greatest Joey Crawford moments.

Enough about the off the court memories of Tim Duncan.  Here’s why he earned the nickname (coined ever so accurately by Shaq) The Big Fundamental.

The fade away jumper against the Lakers is ranked No. 1 as it should be. After thinking about it for a while, that was my first actual basketball memory of Duncan and unfortunately it was one-upped by Derek Fisher on the very next play.

There were a lot of fundamental plays in there, but there were also some explosive plays as well.

Tim Duncan played and approached the game the way he wanted. His stoic, unassuming, businesslike style may have kept him from getting a lot of additional hype and praise, but that was fine with him. Duncan stepped on the court, took care of business and then went on about his business for 19 years and we were fortunate to enjoy the ride.

Now he will go on about his business in retirement. Spurs fans and basketball fans alike hope he enjoys his ride. Thanks T.D.

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