According to SB Nation and multiple other sources, San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan has decided to retire after 19 remarkable seasons in the NBA. Duncan was a two-time NBA MVP, three-time Finals MVP, 15-time All-Star, and five-time NBA champion. The Spurs went 1,072-438 over Tim’s 19 seasons in the NBA, good for a 71 percent winning percentage, which is the best 19-year stretch of any team in NBA history.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 11, 2016
The Spurs selected Duncan with the No. 1 overall pick in 1997, and Tim helped lead the franchise to 50 wins or more over his last 17 seasons in the NBA. Duncan will retire as the only player in league history who won a championship in three different decades and who complied 1,000 wins with one franchise.
Tim is the only player besides Kareem-Abdul Jabaar to record 26,000 points, 15,000 rebounds, and 3,000 blocks in NBA history. Duncan’s 15 All-Star selections are tied for the most in league history and his 15 NBA All-Defensive Team honors are the most of all time. For his career, Tim will retire having averaged 19 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.17 blocks per game in 1,392 contests.
Duncan will retire with the second-most playoff appearances in NBA history as Tim played in 251 contests and logged an NBA career-high with over 9,000 minutes during his storied career. Duncan averaged 20.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists over those 251 playoff games. Tim also ranks No. 1 overall in postseason history in double-doubles and blocks, third in rebounds and sixth in points.
Tim Duncan is the San Antonio Spurs’ all-time leader in total points, rebounds, blocked shots, minutes and games played, as well as third in assists. In league history, Duncan is fifth in double-doubles, sixth in rebounds and 14th in scoring. Without a doubt, Tim will be headed to Springfield, MA in 2021, the first year that he’ll be eligible for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
The résumé speaks for itself.
Make room in Springfield for Timmy. https://t.co/jjWpHxerwr
— ESPN (@espn) July 11, 2016
We all knew this day was coming, but it doesn’t make it any less sad, especially for the Spurs who are in the midst of a major organizational transition. While Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker will returning for the 2016-17 season, both will be no more than role players. The leadership torch has been passed onto Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge as a new era in Spurs basketball is on the horizon.
Replacing Duncan on the court will be 36-year-old Pau Gasol who is coming off of a season in which he averaged 16.5 points, 11 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game. While Gasol’s veteran leadership and offensive abilities will help ease the sting of Tim retiring, the Spurs will have trouble replacing Duncan’s defensive prowess and his unmatched impact on the organization.
Obviously, Tim had lost a step in recent years, but his basketball IQ and his knowledge of the Spurs’ complex defensive system helped Duncan to continue to play a major role for Gregg Popovich. The Spurs once again led the NBA with the least amount of points allowed per game at only 92.9 and Duncan was a big reason for that as he was the last line of defense. Tim also led the NBA in defensive rebounds per minute at 5.41 last season.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 11, 2016
“Man, he’s meant a lot, a great amount,” Spurs small forward Kyle Anderson said. “When you have Timmy on the floor and you’re out there, it’s so easy to give all your effort because you know he’s just out there talking, he’s out there making sure everybody’s playing hard.”
“He’s like, I don’t want to say a father figure out there, but he’s like a big brother out there. I love Timmy. He’s been a great teammate.”
Congratulations to Tim Duncan on one of the greatest careers in the history of the NBA.
[Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images]