Living through a great athlete’s career is something special. Watching Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Kobe Bryant, Mariano Rivera and the countless other dominating stars of our time gives you a sense of perspective. It’s a rare moment where nobody’s looking towards the past or future. You embrace the present, not preaching about the old days and how players were better and more disciplined in an older generation. It’s a victory for people my age.
Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett are the two greatest power forwards of all time. Ironically, their personalities are opposite. Duncan’s career has been spent on a constant contender, yet you would never recognize it from his Ed Helms-like voice. No shouting or flopping from Duncan, just quiet leadership. Garnett…well you know Garnett. He dominated with his defense and questionably illegal screen setting. His tough guy act involves intense sweat dripping from his rigid face like a Gatorade commercial, only to be interrupted with interludes of random phrases of confidence shouted from his ever-moving mouth.
The beauty of living through greatness is that we can appreciate both of them separately. I’ll always remember Duncan as a true role model, he did his job with class and did it better than anybody ever has. He’s a winner with the “clutch-gene,” yet he doesn’t have to lead with his voice. I’ll always remember Garnett as one of the best tickets in sports. Any night you went to see him, he gave it his all, even if it means pissing off Charles Oakley and every other washed up tough guy that’s jealous of Garnett’s incredible talent.
Duncan will be remembered as the greatest power forward ever, and KG will be remembered as the 2nd best, but the disparity isn’t because of personality, or lack there of, it’s because of championships. Even at their age, with the injuries both have endured, both of their teams are in the playoffs, because that’s what the greatest players of all time do. They play and fight until the game’s over, and when the lights dim on these two future hall of famers, I’ll take a moment and appreciate how lucky I am to have watched two of the greatest to ever play.