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You can't overestimate what Kobe Bryant has meant to the game, but his contemporary Tim Duncan has meant even more.
The fact that his legacy is so often overshadowed by Bryant's global celebrity says more about how that celebrity is produced than it does these two players. While Kobe got his rings with superstar help in the hoops mecca that is Los Angeles, Duncan did his damage with less supporting talent and in a small market.
He also went against a grain that expected him to be more vocal, demonstrative and flashy.
While Kobe was doing his best to replicate everything MJ, Duncan was just doing his best to play the game in a fundamentally sound manner. He managed to do so pretty well, earning a reputation in many mind as the best power forward of all time.
Duncan never had Shaq's overpowering physique or Dwight Howard's extraordinary athleticism. He simply took his above-average physical tools and used them to perfection, developing a smooth mid-range game, careful footwork and a patient approach to the post.
His interior defense remains arguably his most significant contribution to the San Antonio Spurs, and his ability to pass from the post or facilitate high-low action remains his most understated.
And of course, Duncan's willingness to take a backseat as the Spurs became Tony Parker's team is a reminder of what makes this guy so one of a kind: He's always been above the fray, a precedent for professionals like Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose, superstars who understand that the NBA is more than just a business.
They understand that a loyalty to team and community is every bit as important as a commitment to winning and getting paid.
Duncan may be remembered as much for that seemingly radical gesture as anything he's done on the court.