Kobe Bryant was - undoubtedly - the most iconic and influential player of his generation. He marked the 2000s and went down as the most unstoppable scorer of his time.
He was more talented and skilled than most NBA players but the thing that truly helped him stand out from the rest of the pack was his determination and unmatched work ethic.
Kobe's competitiveness made him the toughest guy on the court night in and night out, constantly asking nothing but the best from his teammates and leading by example by giving everything he had on every single possession.
That's also what made Kobe earned Tim Duncan's respect, as he recently opened up on the things he admired the most about the late Lakers legend:
"He was a fierce competitor and always demanding more of his team and his teammates than probably was possible, but he wanted to win that much. He wanted it that much," an emotional Tim Duncan said in his Hall of Fame press conference.
Duncan and Kobe had some epic battles on the Western Conference but they grew to be somewhat friends outside of the court. There was nothing but the utmost respect between them, even if they were never known for being openly emotional.
Along with Kevin Garnett, these three legends of the game are set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame today in what promises to be the most emotional ceremony in history, as they plan to honor Kobe's life and legacy.
Kobe Bryant left us too soon. He touched countless lives throughout his career and never ceased to inspire, even outside of the basketball court.
You may love him or hate him as a player but, as Duncan said, you can't deny that his competitive drive and his innate fire made him one of the fiercest competitors in the history of this beautiful game of us.