RealClearSports
Advertisement

Sixers Ball


September 21, 2009 8:40 PM

Who will be first: Shaq, Duncan or Kobe?


One riveting sidebar story that will most likely persist the entire 2009-2010 season is which future Hall of Fame NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan or Kobe Bryant (photo above holding trophy), will possibly capture his fifth championship title first this season.

Big Shaq won three straight titles with the Los Angeles Lakers (2000, 2001 and 2002) and one with the Miami Heat (2006). The Big Fundamental has captured four championships with the San Antonio Spurs (1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007). And Kobe, currently the best baller in the game, got all his rings with the Lakers of course (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2009).

All three dominant NBA players clearly have a legit shot at the trophy in '09-'10.

The Spurs acquired Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess in the offseason to give the aging Duncan, 33, a boost down in the paint. The defending NBA champion Lakers did lose a starter in Trevor Ariza but picked up Ron Artest and resigned Lamar Odom to appease Kobe. And O'Neal was shipped from Phoenix to the Cleveland Cavaliers who have the reigning NBA MVP LeBron James and posted a league best 66-16 record in '09.

Certainly this lively conversation will linger all season long, but here's what some sportswriters are already saying about the NBA's Amazing Race for 5:

"If pressed, I'd have to put my money on (Kobe) Bryant... He has the right system, motivation should not be a problem, and (Pau) Gasol's presence just seems to vault him over the top, to me." Shaq, Kobe, TD... who's the first to plead the fifth? (Yahoo!Sports).

"The winner presumably will be the best player of this generation, or more accurately put, in the post Jordan era. The plight to have each finger on one hand be engaged in basketball bliss will be a historic one." The Drive for Five: Duncan, Kobe, Shaq battle for supremacy. (Bleacher Report).

"Breaking it down by the numbers, it seems more likely that Kobe Bryant will be the first to win his 5th NBA championship ring. However, with all three of these teams vying for the crowns - and potentially the strongest team in the field, the Boston Celtics, also in the mix - anything can happen." First to 5: Kobe, Shaq, or Duncan? (Associated Content)

Well, on your mark, get set....

A Member Of