Tim Duncan Announces Retirement After 19 Seasons in the NBA
Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs is retiring from the NBA after 19 seasons with the same team. A legendary, true professional certainly worthy of a farewell tour won’t have one.
This is fitting for the under-celebrated Duncan. Unlike so many other players of this highlight reel era, he was all game and no noise. His 12-foot bank shots never made the SportsCenter Top 10 Plays. He never made headlines debating his legacy or salary. In fact, his career could be described with one simple headline – “Spurs Win.”
The Spurs’ won at a .710 clip during Duncan’s career, the greatest 19-year stretch in NBA history. Only once during his career did the team win less than 50 games and that was the lockout-shortened 98-99 season which only had 50 games on the schedule. Can’t win ‘em all. That year the Spurs won the first of their championships with Duncan. He is the only player in NBA history to win a championship in 3 different decades.
In addition, Duncan is 1 of 3 players in league history to win over 1,000 regular season games. He was the 1998 Rookie of the Year, a 2-time MVP, 3-time Finals MVP, 15-time All Defensive Team (Most All-Time), 15-time All-NBA and 15-time All Star. However, as we catch our breath, the designation he is likely most proud of is 5-time NBA Champion.
A Team Player Is Hard To Find These Days
Duncan was team-first in a me-first era. He never fled San Antonio for a bigger market or more money. In fact, he took less money to stay with the Spurs so they could add talent around him. As his ability diminished with age, he accepted a lesser role for the good of the team; a real team player. A class act. A league MVP without an ego. Isn’t that refreshing?
Fans have suffered through watching other NBA greats in the twilight of their careers taking 20 bad shots a game on 20-win teams. That just wasn’t Tim Duncan as he allowed younger players such as Kawhi Leonard to develop into stars. That’s not to say at the end of his career he was a glorified mascot. He was still a key contributor on one of the greatest regular season teams in league history. It was rumored that he played the 2nd half of the season and playoffs basically on one knee — and was metrically still among the best defensive players in the league. Yet he wasn’t named to an All Defensive Team, once again under-celebrated.
Duncan and coach Gregg Popovich have won more games together than any player-coach combination in NBA history. For NBA fans, it’s going to be weird seeing one without the other next season. As free agents hold press conferences to discuss their new teams and giant contracts, there goes Tim Duncan, a future Hall of Famer and all-time great, quietly calling it a day.
(Tim Duncan Announces Retirement)