The passage of time is bittersweet. On the one hand, great players grow old and their game erodes, intangibly at first, like the first melting of a snow capped mountain in the early spring, then, like a torrent of water cascading down the mountainside, all faculties fail them and they are but fleeting reflections of their past self.
The measure of their greatness becomes lost in time, relegated to the mythology of witnesses and the grainy existence that is Youtube.
Even ESPN Classics can do no justice to the level of importance of games removed from time and place in history enough to give any degree of scope to the magnificence of the legends of yesteryear.
Comparisons become moot, and there remains but one relative comparison upon which we must rely - stats.
This year, some players are approaching their personal legacies. How long Tim Duncan, Chauncey Billups or Kobe Bryant can continue to excel at this, the epitome of achievment that is the NBA playoffs, is a matter of health now.
One more major injury to any of these players, or another combination of players who don't gel on their respective teams, could spell statistical insignificance in the playoffs for the rest of their careers.
This year, Kobe is about 200 points away from passing Magic, Hakeem, Havlicek, and Larry Bird on the all-time playoff scoring list, and 200 more will put him in the exclusive 4,000-point club, trailing only Jerry West, Shaq, Karl Malone, Kareem, and MJ.
Kobe could also hit the 200 three-pointer club, which would place him fourth behind only Robert Horry, Scottie Pippen, and Reggie Miller.
Duncan, for his part, could also hit the 4,000 point plateau, become only the sixth player to reach 2,000 rebounds, and approach the all-time record for blocked shots.
If Duncan's team runs deep like they did in 2007 when he blocked 62 shots, this same amount would give him 477, and one more than Kareem's all-time mark of 476.
Other players like Chauncey Billups, Peja Stojakovic, Ray Allen, and Derek Fisher are making steady moves up the three-pointers made chart.
LeBron James and Kobe Bryant both have legitimate chances at breaking the all-time single game mark of 61 points set by Michael Jordan. Although scoring against this year's Pistons or Jazz is not quite as impressive as scoring against the immortal Celtics, history will often only show the final tally of the greatest players ever.