The End of an Era

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By Jomari Carreon

It is already October, for some it means that the holiday season is just around the corner, but for most of the basketball fans, it simply means that the NBA season is getting nearer. Basketball fanatics are already excited about the upcoming NBA season and we got a lot of reasons to do so. First of all, the retooled Golden State Warriors are looking to impose their will and reclaim the crown with the help of their prized recruit and former MVP in Kevin Durant. Then defending champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be doing their best to rewrite their names into the history books as they try to win it back – to – back. The more matured Minnesota Timberwolves who are expected to shock a lot of teams this year. Dwayne Wade and Derrick Rose are among many others who will be suiting up for their new teams: everyone will be looking at how they will perform and help their new squads. Finally, the new batch of rookies will try to create immediate impact on their first year as a pro.

As excited as we are for the upcoming season, let us all admit that it is going to be really weird not to see three of the most influential names on the NBA floor as future Hall of Famers in Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett already decided to walk away from the limelight of the NBA. With decades of competition highlighted by 4 NBA MVPs, 11 NBA Championships and 48 NBA All- Star appearances, it will truly be weird not to see them in the NBA floor this coming season. So before the start of the first season without them, let us all look back to the legacy that they left and to their greatest contributions to the game that we all love.

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Kobe Bryant

Despite being out for the most part of his last three or four seasons in the NBA, it will still feel unusual not to see a Kobe Bryant’s name in the Los Angeles Lakers roster. The black mamba as what they call him has been in the league for 20 seasons, all of these were spent in LA. Kobe has always been the most influential basketball player of our generation, he is highly respected by the Laker fans and the rest of the NBA. He elevated the standard of basketball with his work ethic and desire to be the best. He was that kind of player who has the killer’s mentality that will destroy any team that he plays at any given night.

Kobe will forever be remembered not by the number of championships he won, not even the game winners he made or the milestones that he accomplished. He will be remembered because he inspired and influenced the present generation of basketball players with his passion for the game and his work ethic that despite being considered as the one of the best players of his generation, he was still diligently studying the game to try and improve every now and then.  He will be remembered as the greatest competitor that the game has ever seen and will go down as one of the 10 greatest players who ever played the game.

Here are some of the notables accomplishments of Kobe’s career:

  • 5 – time NBA Champion (2000 – 2002, 2009 – 2010)
  • 2 – time NBA Finals MVP (2009 -2010)
  • NBA MVP (2008)
  • 2 – time Scoring Champion (2006 – 2007)
  • 18 – time All – Star
  • 4 – time All – Star MVP
  • 15 – time All – NBA Selection
  • 12 – time All – Defensive team
  • NBA Slam dunk Champion (1997)
  • NBA 3rd All – time leading scorer
  • 81 – point game (2nd best individual performance in the history of the NBA)
  • 2 – time Olympic Gold medalist
  • Lakers All – time best scorer
2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
SAN ANTONIO, TX – JUNE 15: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs reacts with teammates after winning 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Tim Duncan

When we hear about the San Antonio Spurs, the first thing that comes to our mind is the triumvirate of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan. These three players have made wonders to the great head coach Gregg Popovich team through the years as they spearheaded the Spurs in 4 championships. But starting next season, Tim Duncan, the backbone of the San Antonio team will not be suiting up for them once more. It will be weird to see the Spurs without Tim on their roster where he spent his whole 19 years in the NBA, but it’s not only their fans that will miss this legend.

Despite being labeled as a boring player at times as his game is focused merely on fundamentals Tim Duncan is still one of the best power forwards who ever played the game, but it is not his skill set that will mostly be remembered by the NBA fans; it was his attitude and demeanor that made him loved and admired by the fans. He was that ideal type of teammate: the kind of player that would never separate himself from the team concept of the game, a guy that is so humble and a guy that you can trust as he was that kind of player that you would rarely see commit mistakes.

Below is the list of Tim Duncan’s notable accomplishments that will serve as a testament to how great he was as a player.

  • NBA First overall pick (1997)
  • 5 – time NBA Champion (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014)
  • 2 – time NBA MVP (2002 – 2003)
  • 3 – time Finals MVP (1999, 2003 and 2005)
  • 15  – time All Star
  • 5th All – time in block shots
  • 14th All – time in scoring
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Returning to where it all began in 2015 when he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Garnett would retire as the franchise’s leading scorer.

Kevin Garnett

If I were to pick only one of the super teams that was formed in the history of the NBA, the 2007 – 2008 Boston Celtics will surely be one of my options. The team, lead by the young Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett took the NBA by storm and make it all the way to winning the franchise’s 17th title (most in the history of the league). Unfortunately, two of these players already decided to take their curtain call, one of them is Kevin Garnett.

Kevin Garnett, also known as the big ticket will be remembered as one of the best defensive players the game has ever seen. He was highly regarded with the defensive intensity that was so hard to match up. He can block shots, steal the ball, rebound and do other stuff defensively. His defensive tenacity was one of the integral part of Boston’s championship run. With KG’s skill sets, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these days we will see him sitting on court – side as a member of one of the 30 team’s coaching staff.

Below is the list of KG’s greatest NBA accomplishments:

  • NBA Champion (2008)
  • NBA MVP (2004)
  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year (2008)
  • NBA All – Star Game MVP (2003)
  • 15 – time NBA All – Star
  • 9 – time All – NBA selection
  • NBA All – Rookie Selection (1996)

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The NBA will never be the same without these 3 legends. It will take time before we get used to not seeing them play in the NBA, but as saying goes, “There should always be something to look forward to.”. Isn’t it exciting to see how the new generation of basketball superstars showcase their talents and continue the evolution of the game that we all love 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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