Tim Duncan was always looking for trophies not the spotlight. He did not seek out endorsements and never looked for the accolades that come with winning NBA titles and MVP awards. His thoughts were all about the collective work of he and his teammates in reaching a goal – NBA Championships.
That is why it was not any big surprise that Duncan announced his retirement from the NBA after 19 seasons with little to no fanfare.
He did not hold a big news conference and he did not announce it one season early to enjoy a season of sendoffs by opposing crowds.
His announcement was just a simple goodbye Monday from that man who has been the San Antonio Spurs anchor for nearly two decades.
Duncan won five NBA championships, earned 15 appearances in the NBA All-Star Game and won two NBA MVP awards. He is also on many lists as the game’s all time greatest power forward. However, he still let others do all the talking for the soft-spoken giant.
Duncan’s Spurs lost to Oklahoma City in the semifinals of the Western Conference in six games this past season. In his final game, Duncan played the entire fourth quarter, but the Spurs lost by 14 points to the Thunder.
Duncan and his coach Gregg Popovich combined to win more games by any player/coach combination in NBA history. Their win total was 1,001.
The coach of San Antonio will talk about Duncan’s retirement decision during a Tuesday news conference, but no plans have been made for Duncan to speak to the media.
Kobe Bryant, who also retired at season’s end, said he loved everything about Duncan on the basketball court.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that Duncan’s understated selflessness made him the best teammate to have and his talent and devotion to the game made him one of the most dominating players ever to play in the NBA.
The commissioner added that Duncan represented the city of San Antonio, the Spurs and the NBA with class and passion and everyone thanks him for the profound impact he had on the sport.
Over the 19 seasons Duncan played with the Spurs, the team’s regular season record was 1,072-438. That run is the best stretch of 19 seasons in NBA history and over the last 19 years is the best of the four major sports in the United States.
Duncan’s announcement brings to an end the era of him, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, as the three top players for the franchise.
The three played together in more regular seasons as well as playoff games than any other three players did.