Kobe Bryant (20), Tim Duncan (19) and Kevin Garnett (21) — the NBA’s Big Three of the Class of 2020 being enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend — played a total of 60 seasons in the league.
Overall, they participated in 169,709 minutes spread across 4,814 games. But there’s no way we were going to come up with that many factoids, numbers and bits of trivia about these three guys. So sticking with the simple total from up top, here are 60 Things to Know about Bryant, Duncan and Garnett, by the numbers, as they prepare to enter the Hall:
Seasons, out of 19, that Tim Duncan’s teams finished below .500. The Spurs’ lowest winning percentage in the Duncan era was .610 (50-32) in 2009-10. Bryant played on four Lakers teams that won fewer than they lost, with a low of .207 (17-65) in his final season of 2015-16. Garnett endured six losing seasons, the worst of .195 (16-66) in his next-to-last season.
Number of actual (or future) Hall of Fame teammates Garnett had through his first dozen NBA seasons. A major storyline for him in Minnesota was the lack of elite help. It wasn’t until he hooked up in his 13th season in Boston with vets Paul Pierce and Ray Allen that he played with comparable NBA royalty. Bryant had Shaquille O’Neal for the first eight years of his career, with Pau Gasol arriving in year 12. Duncan had David Robinson for six seasons, Tony Parker for seasons 5-12 and Manu Ginobili joining a season after Parker.
Number of players in NBA history to amass at least 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 steals and 1,500 blocks. Garnett’s combination of versatility and longevity made those milestones possible.
Nickname bestowed on one of these guys by fellow Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal. And it wasn’t Bryant, his love/hate teammate whose nickname “Mamba” was Bryant’s own creation intended to represent his intensity and killer instinct. Garnett’s nickname “The Big Ticket” — to tout the budding star’s thrilling and entertaining game — came courtesy of broadcaster Kevin Harlan when Harlan was working early in his career as the Timberwolves’ play-by-play man. It was Duncan who got dubbed “The Big Fundamental” by O’Neal for the no-muss, no-fuss, footwork-and-bank shot bundle of skills he displayed nightly, for nearly two decades.
Types of food after which Bryant is named. His parents went with Kobe as his first name as a nod to the particular Japanese style of beef they enjoyed. And his middle name Bean came from his dad’s nickname “Jellybean” during his basketball career. Duncan’s and Garnett’s middle names — Theodore and Maurice — don’t have quite the same, er, flavor.
Four players spent their entire careers with one franchise, while sticking around for at least 19 seasons: Bryant, Duncan, John Stockton and Dirk Nowitzki.
Total number of hands and feet — all belonging to Bryant — immortalized in cement outside Hollywood’s famous “Chinese Theater.” The Lakers star was honored in 2011, becoming the first athlete to join all those legendary film and television celebrities.
Also Bryant, tied with former St. Louis Hawks great Bob Pettit with a record four All-Star MVP trophies.
Total number of other Hall of Famers (so far) to come out of the 1995, ’96 and ’97 drafts. Only Garnett has been voted into the Naismith shrine from the Class of 1995. Bryant was drafted on the same night in 1996 as Allen Iverson, Ray Allen and Steve Nash. And Duncan shares the HOF designation from the 1997 draft with Tracy McGrady.
Draft position at which Garnett was selected in 1995. Bryant went with the No. 13 pick a year later, and Duncan went to San Antonio when the Spurs beat out Boston for the No. 1 pick in 1997. Each would be the No. 1 overall pick in his respective Draft class if history allowed do-overs.
Six players who averaged a points/rebounds double-double over at least 19 seasons: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, Shaquille O’Neal, Duncan and Garnett.
Consecutive seasons, a record, in which Garnett averaged at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Garnett did it from 1999-2000 through 2004-05. Boston’s Larry Bird did it five times, from 1980-81 through 1984-85.
Major statistical categories in which Garnett is the Minnesota Timberwolves’ all-time leader: games (970), points (19,201), rebounds (10,718), offensive rebounds (2,588), defensive rebounds (8,130), assists (4,216), steals (1,315) and blocked shots (1,590). Duncan is San Antonio’s leader in six of those, and Bryant tops all Lakers in three of those (but several more if we include stats on 3-pointers, free throws, turnovers and fouls).
Duncan agreed to a massive pay cut from his 2011-12 salary ($21.1 million) for 2012-13, with $10.3 million as his pay for 2013-14, working with the Spurs as they navigated the salary cap. San Antonio went to The Finals both seasons.
As in 10 points and 10 rebounds, the minimum for a classic big-man’s double-double. Duncan, averaging 19.0 points and 10.8 boards, is the only player in league history to average such a career double-double in 19 seasons with the same franchise. Utah point guard John Stockton did it for 19 seasons, one team, with points (13.1) and assists (10.5).
Bryant had 10 games with 50 points or more in 2006-07, the second-most in an NBA season. Wilt Chamberlain scored 50 45 times in 1961-62 and 30 times the next season. Bryant finished with 25 such games, good for third place all time behind Chamberlain (118) and Michael Jordan (31).
Duncan was a 15-time All-NBA and All-Defense selection, but he’s the only player to be named to both for 13 consecutive seasons. Bryant and Garnett each made it onto 12 All-Defense teams.
Bryant’s age when his family moved back to the U.S. from Italy, the result of father Joe’s decision to play overseas after his NBA career had ended. Garnett and Duncan did some moving too. Garnett transferred from his hometown of Mauldin, S.C., to spend his senior season in high school at Farragut Academy in Chicago. Duncan grew up on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands before being recruited to play at Wake Forest.
Garnett and Duncan each made 15 All-Star teams, along with Shaquille O’Neal. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19), Bryant (18), LeBron James (17) and Julius Erving (16) made more.
Total number of head coaches for the trio. Six for Bryant, nine for Garnett and just one — San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich — for Duncan.
Duration in years from Duncan’s first NBA title (1999) till his fifth and last (2014). Bryant won his five championships in a span of 11 years (2000-10).
How was it that Duncan played four years at Wake Forest and got to the NBA not much later in age than Garnett and Bryant, who arrived straight out of high school? He got moved up a year in grade school and was only 17 as a college freshman. That’s why he was barely 40 when he played his last game the same spring Garnett, 39, and Bryant, 37, exited.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs to the postseason every year in which he played for them, 19 consecutive seasons.
Elapsed years between high school players coming directly into the NBA via the Draft. In 1975, Darryl Dawkins of Orlando, Fla., and Bill Willoughby of Englewood, N.J., were selected without passing through college. Then Garnett rattled NBA traditions by submitting his name in 1995. One year later, Bryant became the first guard to pull off the preps-to-pros move. By the way, drafted in between Dawkins and Willoughby at No. 14 in ’75? Joe Bryant, Kobe’s dad.
Number of times Garnett says he called and left messages for Bryant in the summer of 2007, when the Timberwolves star was trying to decide which team — Celtics, Suns or Lakers — would offer his best shot at a ring. Bryant said later he never got the messages because he was on an extended endorsement trip to China.
Jersey number shared by rivals Duncan and Garnett. Bryant wore both No. 8 and No. 24 in his Lakers career and both were retired simultaneously by the team in his honor.
The number Garnett wrote, in gold marker, on his sneakers when he and the Timberwolves played in Chicago in February of his rookie season. A nod to Bulls legend Michael Jordan, who lit up Minnesota for 35 that night? Nope. Garnett’s friend and teammate the previous season at Farragut Academy in Chicago had endured five hours of spinal surgery the day before, after a one-car accident. Garnett spent the eve of the game in Fields’ hospital room, talking about “everything but basketball,” then dedicated his 20 points and eight rebounds in the game to the three-time Parade All-American. Fields recovered to play 20 years in the CBA and overseas.
Duncan’s career Player Efficiency Rating (PER), the all-encompassing assessment stat created by maven John Hollinger to rate players across positions and eras. That’s the best of this trio’s numbers. Bryant had a 22.9 PER and Garnett 22.7, which means the three rank 14th, 26th and 29th all-time.
In his very first game as a professional, making his debut in the Summer Pro League in Long Beach, Calif., in 1996, Bryant scored 27 points against Detroit before a standing-room-only crowd.
Points per game by Bryant against Portland in 62 clashes with the Trail Blazers, his highest average against a specific opponent. Duncan averaged 21.2 ppg against Milwaukee, while Garnett’s biggest scoring nights came on average (20.5 ppg) against the Boston team he eventually joined.
Many people know that Bryant won an Oscar in 2018 when a poem he wrote, “Dear Basketball,” was turned into an Academy Award-winning animated short. Lots of moviegoers saw Garnett in a well-received and sizable role in the 2019 Adam Sandler film “Uncut Gems.” But how many folks know that Duncan’s older brother, Scott, is a decorated cinematographer in Hollywood, racking up 34 Emmy nominations and 16 wins?
Bryant (36) and Michael Jordan (44) were the only players with at least 35 30-point games in their 12th NBA seasons … until Stephen Curry joined them this month. Curry also matched and surpassed Bryant this season when he strung together at least 10 games of 30 points or more at age 33 or older.
After Garnett dusted off in 1995 the preps-to-pros gamble that had been dormant since 1975, 37 more players were drafted into the NBA directly from high school before the league shut down that option after 2006. That includes Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James and other notables, as well as lesser known draftees such as Korleone Young, James Lang and Ndudi Ebi.
Number of regular-season meetings between rivals Duncan and Garnett. Their individual stats were close — Duncan’s 19.0 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 3.2 apg and 1.9 bpg to Garnett’s 19.5 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 4.0 apg and 1.9 bpg — but Duncan’s team went 27-17 in those matchups. Same story in eight head-to-head playoff games: similar stats, but Duncan’s Spurs went 6-2.
The number of All-Star selections for the three, with Bryant’s 18 leading the way. Garnett and Duncan were chosen 15 times each. Together, they won 11 rings (five each for Bryant and Duncan), four MVPs (two for Duncan) and five Finals MVPs (two for Bryant, three for Duncan).
The number of points Bryant famously scored in his final NBA game on April 13, 2016. He launched 50 shots, sinking 22 (including 6-of-21 from 3-point range) and went 10-for-12 from the line in 42:09 to help the Lakers finish with a 17-65 record. For what it’s worth, Duncan had 19 points and five rebounds in his final appearance, a conference semifinal elimination Game 6 at Oklahoma City that spring. And Garnett wrapped up back on Jan. 23 of that season with just two points in 9:11 vs. Memphis. He sat out Minnesota’s final 37 games that season.
Even near the end, in his final 43 games back in Minnesota (2015-16), Garnett was plus-72 in his 654 minutes. That made him one of just two Timberwolves in the 10 years after Garnett first was traded in 2007 to have logged a positive plus-minus while playing at least 500 minutes. If Garnett hadn’t returned, Ricky Rubio would have been alone at plus-345 in that time across 353 games and 11,216 minutes. The other 60 players who suited up for Minnesota over that decade (2007-08 through 2016-17) and played 500 minutes or more all wound up in the red.
Most points scored in a game by any of the three. It was Bryant, of course, torching the Toronto Raptors for 81 on Jan. 22, 2006. Duncan scored 53 in a game in his fifth season, while Garnett didn’t post his single-game high of 47 until his 10th season.
Total number of seasons played by the five players with the longest NBA careers. Vince Carter played 22 seasons, while Garnett, Robert Parish, Kevin Willis and Dirk Nowitzki each lasted 21.
Bryant’s jersey number at the adidas ABCD basketball camp he attended in high school, which eventually became his first number with the Lakers (adding 1, 4 and 3).
Number of games played by Vlade Divac for the Charlotte Hornets, after that team traded the No. 13 pick in the 1996 draft to the Lakers. To be fair, the deal was prearranged, triggering if Bryant still was on the board, and the Hornets had not seriously considered drafting Bryant. Besides, the prep player’s agent was making noise about refusing to play anywhere but L.A., even suggesting an Italian team to help leverage his desired NBA destination.
Duncan ranks third in NBA playoff game appearances with 251, behind only LeBron James (260) and Derek Fisher (259). Bryant played in 220 (ranking seventh), Garnett in 143 (ranking 53rd).
Point difference, in winning percentage points, between the eight seasons Garnett carried the Timberwolves to the NBA playoffs (.586, 366-258) vs. Minnesota’s record in its 24 other seasons (.330, 635-1,285 through May 11).
Distance in meters of the freestyle swimming event in which Duncan, by age 13, was a nationally ranked swimmer in the U.S. His sister, Tricia, represented the Virgin Island in swimming the 100- and 200-meter backstroke events in the 1988 Olympics.
Days as a Spurs assistant coach for Duncan. He was signed to join coach Gregg Popovich’s staff on July 22, 2019. Popovich’s line at the time: “It is only fitting, that after I served loyally for 19 years as Tim Duncan’s assistant, that he returns the favor.” Duncan seemed to enjoy his stint but it didn’t even last 16 months. He skipped the Orlando bubble restart last year and made his exit official on Nov. 11, 2020. He continues, however, to be a nearby and high-profile friend of the San Antonio organization. Neither Bryant nor Garnett ever showed any interest in coaching as a full-time gig, although Garnett did work briefly as a coaching consultant for the LA Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks.
Duncan blocked more shots (568) in postseason play than anyone else (since that became an official stat in 1973-74). Next most: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (476, not counting any from his first 41 playoff games).
Duncan is the winningest NBA player of all time, among those who have played at least 800 games, based on regular season winning percentage (.719, 1,001-391). Bryant won at a .621 clip and Garnett was at .564.
The estimated amount of earnings, in combined NBA salaries, of the three generational stars. Garnett raked in $343.8 million according to basketball-reference.com, Bryant finished at $328.2 million and Duncan amassed $245.3 million despite his practice of negotiating for less than market value. This, of course, each player’s assorted endorsements.
Those 1,001 victories in which Duncan played in the Spurs’ regular season rank third most in NBA history behind Abdul-Jabbar (1,074) and Robert Parish (1,014). Bryant is 10th, with the Lakers winning 836 times with him in the lineup, and Garnett 12th all-time with 825.
Two players in NBA history have amassed both 1,500 steals and 1,500 rebounds: Hakeem Olajuwon and Garnett. (Steals became an official NBA stat in 1973-74.)
Year of Bryant’s Chevy Impala — a Christmas gift from his wife, Vanessa — that went to auction in February. Initially listed at $100,000, the classic car that once was featured on MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” fetched $221,400. Cars are part of the other two players’ worlds, too. Duncan owns a custom garage, BlackJack Speed Shop, less than a mile from the Spurs’ practice facility. Garnett was featured in a story in The New York Times from 2006 about the modifications needed in NBA players’ automobiles to fit their oversized frames (Garnett had a seat reconfigured and moved all the way back inside a Ferrari he once owned).
This was the year Duncan came the closest to ending his one-franchise tenure almost before it had begun. As a free agent, he was wooed heavily by the Orlando Magic, which wanted to land him, Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady in Florida’s first “super team” concept. But Gregg Popovich and David Robinson (cutting short a vacation in Hawaii) rushed to intervene before Duncan could disappear.
Peeved with the Lakers brass, Bryant sought to be traded in 2007 and came relatively close. He was willing to waive his no-trade clause for a deal with Chicago. The Lakers and Bulls had agreed in principle to sending to L.A. Luol Deng, Tyrus Thomas, Ben Gordon and Joakim Noah. But Bryant balked because he wanted Deng to play alongside him in Chicago.
Only Bill Russell (4,104) and Wilt Chamberlain (3,913) grabbed more rebounds in NBA playoffs than Duncan.
Amount of Duncan’s fine after getting tossed by referee Joey Crawford from a 2007 game against the Dallas Mavericks. But Crawford took the bigger hit, being suspended for the rest of the season because he ejected the Spurs star essentially for laughing and clapping over on the bench. Crawford deemed it disrespectful, but the NBA saw to it that the veteran referee never did anything like that again. Years later the volatile Crawford, who had consulted with a sports psychologist after the incident, said: “I can’t go anywhere without somebody asking me about Tim Duncan. He is known for his great stellar career. I don’t know what I am known for. I guess it’s throwing out Tim Duncan.”
Winning bid at auction this winter for the basketball hoop from the Bryant family home in Philadelphia’s suburbs. The hoop was sold separately from the house, which went for $810,000 last year.
Miles — in $1 bills, laid end to end — that Garnett’s league-shaking, lockout-inspiring, $126 million contract extension in 1997 would have stretched. That’s roughly halfway around the equator.
Points by which Bryant outscored his father Joe (Jellybean) Bryant in their respective NBA careers. Dad scored his 5,252 points in 606 games, getting up 4,648 shots — about three years’ worth for his son — over eight seasons.
Garnett’s mountain of regular-season minutes ranks fourth behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (57,446), Karl Malone (54,852) and Dirk Nowitzki (51,368). Bryant (48,637) ranks ninth all-time while Duncan (47,368) is 13th.
Combined regular-season point totals of Bryant (33,643), Duncan (26,496) and Garnett (26,071). They generated another 13,413 in the playoffs: Bryant with 5,640, Duncan 5,172 and Garnett 2,601.
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