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Kobe Bryant and the Lakers appreciate Tim Duncan in wake of his retirement

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The NBA has now lost two of it’s most respected and longest tenured players in one offseason.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs aren’t the source of a lot of fond memories for fans of the Los Angeles Lakers. Duncan’s Spurs teams were one of the few to ever beat a Kobe Bryant led Lakers’ team at the height of their powers, and the two most successful teams of the 2000-2010 decade were at times bitter rivals.

But after Duncan announced his retirement on Monday morning, Bryant made it clear there was a mutual respect between himself and his longtime adversary.

"More cutthroat than people give him credit for,” Bryant told Marc Stein of ESPN following Duncan’s retirement. “I loved everything about him on the court."

It’s easy to see why a technically proficient player like Bryant would respect a player so fundamentally sound that his nickname was “the Big Fundamental.” The brilliance of Duncan’s dominance was often how simple it often seemed for him, and Bryant fittingly kept his tweet praising Duncan’s career just as straightforward:

The Lakers offered their own simple appreciation for a longtime competitor as well:

Duncan’s quiet nature made sure he was far from the NBA’s most popular player during his time in the league, but a player so skilled still built up a substantial fanbase, including the Lakers sophomore power forward, Larry Nance, Jr. The Wyoming product spoke at length in the Player’s Tribune about his appreciation for getting to suit up against Duncan during his rookie year, and Nance, Jr. reiterated his respect on the morning of Duncan’s retirement.

Lou Williams also saw plenty of Duncan during his time in the league, and called him the “best power forward of all time” in an Instagram post:

GREAT run big fella. Best power forward of all time #bigfundamental #timmy

A photo posted by Lou Williams (@louwillville) on

Duncan may not have been the biggest name in the league, or the most popular (especially in Los Angeles), but his extended run of effectiveness can surely be appreciated by basketball fans worldwide.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.