San Antonio Spurs forward and surefire Hall of Famer Tim Duncan announced his retirement Monday after 19 seasons with the team.
The first pick of the 1997 draft, Duncan helped the Spurs achieve an era of prosperity, winning at least 50 games in each of the last 17 seasons. Not only did Duncan help the team win five titles, he’s the first in history to win a title in three different decades. He tops off his career with averages of 19.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.2 blocks.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 11, 2016
Duncan had a player option for next season, Monday’s announcement ending weeks of speculation about his future.
The NBA world went out of its way to thank the greatest power forward of all time:
When Tim Duncan left the game he did it Joe Namath style. This concludes the world’s only Duncan-Namath comparison pic.twitter.com/EWCALq7BeC
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) July 11, 2016
Tim Duncan in 19 years was the gold standard for professionalism and consistency and him retiring lessens the NBA considerably
— Doug Smith: Raptors (@SmithRaps) July 11, 2016
Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich have the most wins by a player-coach duo in NBA history (1,001). pic.twitter.com/HimygfTx3A
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 11, 2016
Tim Duncan waves bye with a ring on each finger. pic.twitter.com/kb5wOVoRlX
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 11, 2016
Duncan goes out as he entered—quiet and with the team first. His retirement tour fell well behind the spectacle owned by Kobe Bryant this year. Over the past few seasons he willingly fell into a bench role, allowing the next generation of Spurs stars such as Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge to blossom.
Duncan’s 19-year career seems long, but his reach and impact on the sport—all sports, really—will stretch much longer.