Project Spurs staff reflects on Duncan’s career, favorite moments

On Monday, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor declared tomorrow, July 21, as “Tim Duncan Day.” We’ll share some of our favorite coverage on Duncan tomorrow, but to kick things off before that, we asked some of our staff to reflect on Duncan’s career and to share some of their favorite stories or moments.

Tim Duncan has always been the consummate professional and a pillar of the Spurs organization for the past 19 years. The NBA may never see another model of consistency and excellence like Timmy again. His humility and work ethic led to an historic career that is arguably one of the greatest careers in any sport ever. The reverberations of dedication to the team over self will continue to be felt and recognized for generations to come. Duncan may never truly get the recognition he deserves and that’s just the way he wants it.  – Winston Harris

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 02: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs paces on the court as the Los Angeles Clippers are introduced before Game Seven of the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 2, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers won 111-109 to win the series four games to three. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

There’s nothing about Tim Duncan’s impact on the game, the city of San Antonio and the world, that hasn’t already been written. The hardest part of his retirement is knowing that his career will now be nothing but stories, YouTube videos, statistics in a record book and a jersey hung from the AT&T Center rafters for eternity. My future kids will never be able to see Tim Duncan live. They won’t be able to watch the draft lottery and see San Antonio draw the number one pick. They won’t be able to witness analysts and experts debate if San Antonio should select Duncan or Keith Van Horn. They’ll never see Duncan dominate three decades worth of Hall of Fame talent in Karl Malone, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki or Blake Griffin. They won’t understand that Tim Duncan not only demanded the best out of himself, but also his teammates and everyone that surrounded him. Or how his presence and personality, no matter how muted, uplifted Spurs fans and the entire city of San Antonio for 19 years. The hardest part of Duncan’s retirement is knowing that with every passing day, microscopic pieces of his legacy will be forgotten and lost forever, until there’s nothing but the aforementioned YouTube clips and tribute pieces. The archives will remember Duncan as winner, but with his retirement, we’ve all lost. – John Diaz

The way Tim Duncan went about being superstar was completely unique, from staying in school for four years to retiring through a short team press release rather than a season long praise receiving tour. At every point in between, he epitomized production, consistency, and substance over style. For nearly two decades, his singular focus was making sure his Spurs got more buckets than the other team did. The relationship between him and Coach Popovich was unlike any other, and San Antonio was the perfect city for them to live and work in. In addition to being the greatest power forward ever he’s one of the greatest players, winners, and teammates in basketball history, and it’s because he worked hard and earned it every single day. I would say we’ll never see another player with his mix of talent and quiet humility, but the culture he helped build keeps finding guys who have gotten over themselves. Thank you Tim, for all that you have accomplished, built, and shown us. – Tom Petrini

Tim Duncan’s humble nature was not only a unique contrast to his contemporaries, but was a deliberate way to ensure that he had no peers. The perfect athlete.  – Ryan McCallum

My favorite part about Tim Duncan is he did it his way. People say that to describe athletes and people all the time but nobody fully embodied that mantra quite like Duncan did. From his clothes, to his interviews, to his style on the court, he’s always been uniquely vanilla. Even in the early years when Kevin Garnett would yell in his face during games, Duncan would remain unfazed, looking on with a 1,000-yard stare as he quietly notches another double-double. Despite cries of “boring” from a generation of NBA fans, he never changed his style and remained a beacon of consistency. Five championships, 19 straight playoff appearances, 15 All-Star games, countless other accolades, yet he was hardly in the national spotlight. Outside from local HEB commercials, you rarely saw Duncan on TV outside a Spurs game. Whether it was his choice or not, Duncan’s obscurity is what San Antonio fans loved the most about him. Who cares if nobody else is paying attention? He is our star, our legend. You can keep the commercials. We’ll take the rings. – Keff Ciardello

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

I grew up with Tim Duncan as my role model and my hero. My first year watching NBA basketball as a six year old was the year before he got drafted. Over nearly two decades of professional basketball, he always exemplified competition, excellence, hard work, and was (is) the epitome of selflessness, both on and off the court. I’ve never met the man, yet he taught me so much without saying one word. Watching him walk towards the locker room in OKC this May, taking one last look at the hardwood before pointing skyward with his back turned to the basketball world gave me chills. I spent the better part of the last two months hoping that he would come back for one final ride, so I could buy as many nosebleed seats as I could next season and absorb every minute of Tim Duncan possible. Now that he’s made it official, I’m here at the age of 25 a better person because of him, and I know many others share that feeling. Thank you Tim. – Zac Graham

I’ve been a Spurs fan since I was six years old. I still remember going to my first game at the Alamodome against the Portland Trailblazers. I was hooked from there on out. As I got older, Tim Duncan became one of my idols. Not only was he a dominating force on the basketball court, but I learned its what he did off the court that truly defined him. His Breast Cancer bowling tournament, basketball camps and what he’s done for the city. I don’t know a Spurs team without Tim Duncan and next season will be weird. But I’m grateful I got to watch him play. Thank you, Timmy! Happy retirement.  – Stephen Anderson

I’ve been fortunate enough to be at the Alamodome and AT&T Center for some great moments in Tim Duncan’s career, from the 1999 Championship run on throughout his career. Covering his penultimate All-Star appearance was one moment I especially enjoyed. A few years before that, when I covered home games regularly, I remember thinking that I was getting to watch what surely were the final years of his career and being grateful for the privilege. I watched every one of his games after that with a different perspective, and I also learned a lot about leadership from his example. Aside from the many things the city and the franchise have to be thankful for, I’m also grateful that my nephews and other kids in San Antonio got to grow up idolizing an athlete who did it the right way. In an age where some of the top jersey and sneaker sellers sometimes end up in the headlines for the wrong reasons, I take comfort in knowing kids are proudly wearing their #21 jerseys around San Antonio. – Michael De Leon