What a generation! Bryant, Duncan and Garnett on the same team

The NBA's Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame 2020 aims to be the best of all time and will be a reality on August 29

Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.

The Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame will feature great NBA personalities. / Photos: flickr.com/Mike, Sgt. Joseph A. Lee, flickr.com/Keith Allison

LatinamericanPost| Onofre Zambrano

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Leer en español: ¡Qué generación! Bryant, Duncan y Garnett en el mismo equipo

As surprising as it may seem, the next NBA Hall of Fame class could become the best in history due to the quality and quantity of titles of its main members: the recently deceased Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.

Of course, at that time, no one expected the irreparable loss of any of these three great stars. The death of 'The Black Mamba', the most beloved of all, will not, however, prevent him from being remembered and honored on August 29, the date established to honor the 2020 generation of Hall of Famers.

It should also be said that, alongside Bryant, Duncan and Garnett, former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, winner of two league titles in 1994 and 1995, and Eddie Sutton, a former four-time champion of the NCAA Men's National, were also chosen.

They will also be accompanied by former women's basketball star (WNBA) Tamika Catchings, 10 times selected to the All-Star Game, and who played her 15 professional seasons with the Indiana Fever. Class 2020 is complemented by coaches Kim Mulkey (Bayor) and Barbara Stevens (Bentley University).

Even though the NBA season is currently suspended by the Coronavirus pandemic, the organization has stipulated to fulfill its initial schedule on the aforementioned date and thus pay the corresponding tribute.

All members of the class got their nomination in their first presentation to the vote after retiring in 2016 with at least one title won. Bryant, Duncan, and Garnett were indeed combined for 11 NBA championships and four Most Valuable (MVP) awards.


Figures in the heights

After 20 years in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant tragically passed away on January 26 at age 41. He was credited with five championships and the MVP award in 2008. Off the court, he won an Oscar for an animated film about his life.

In turn, Duncan, 43, spent 19 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs and also won five titles, in addition to the consecutive MVP award in 2002 and 2003, beating Bryant in both seasons.

Garnett, also 43, currently works as a media commentator and in his career played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. It was with Boston that he won his only title in 2008 alongside retired Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

Finally, Tomjanovich, 71, was a player for the Houston Rockets, but his greatest achievements came as coach of the same franchise, in the 1994 and 1995 seasons, in which he was titled champion.


Why could it be the best?

If you want to compare this talented class with others, it seems prudent to start with that of 2009, in which the best player in history, Michael Jordan, was together with two other brilliant names.

2009 (Jordan, Robinson, and Stockton)

What Michael Jordan did in his career was so great, that many forget that his generation to the Hall of Fame also featured two monsters of the sport such as David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs) and John Stockton (Utah Jazz ), members along with Jordan, of the 1992 Olympic 'Dream Team'.

Robinson earned two championships and one MVP in his career, while Stockton is still the league's leader in assist and steals, despite failing to win titles after two disputed finals. If Jordan were not here, this generation would hardly surpass that of 2020, which won more as a whole.

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2020 (Bryant, Duncan, and Garnett)

There is no doubt that this year's class is very good in terms of superstars like the one shown above. In fact, it is only the fifth time that multiple MVPs have entered the Hall together. Two of the  10 best players in history (Bryant and Duncan) and another among the top 20 (Garnett), that is something very difficult to see in the near future of the next Halls of Fame.

1980 (West, Robertson, Lucas)

Jerry West and Oscar Robertson were the first draft picks in 1960. Coincidentally, they also retired the same year, 1974, and for that year they were second and third-best scorers in NBA history. In fact, their last game was in that year's finals, when the West Lakers beat Robertson's, Milwaukee Bucks. Joining them was Lucas, who was a seven-time All-Star and also a member of the 1973 New York Knicks champion team.

2016 (O'Neal, Iverson, Ming)

Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson, and Chinese Yao Ming. Zelmo Beaty was really third in this vote ahead of Ming, but he was an ABA player, and in this case we focus on NBA players,

Shaquille, Bryant's teammate, and Iverson faced each other in the 2001 finals, with the Lakers triumphing over the Philadelphia Sixers. Coincidentally, they were exalted in unison 15 years later. They both obtained the MVP award in consecutive years. The difference is that O'Neal won three rings and Iverson none and Shaq came to the league four years younger. Ming, in turn, was the first great foreigner in the League.