Tim Duncan, the long-time star of the San Antonio Spurs, announced today that he is retiring. He helped the team win five NBA titles since he joined the franchise in 1997.
Duncan’s reserved personality kept him largely out of the spotlight, despite his consistently stellar performances with the Spurs, who made the playoffs every year that Duncan played for the team. Duncan was voted most valuable player five times, two of them regular-season M.V.P. awards and three others for his performances in NBA finals.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement that Duncan had earned, “a place among the all-time greats, while his understated selflessness made him the ultimate teammate.”
In keeping with Duncan’s low profile, the announcement of his retirement came in a press release heavy on statistics and light on personal details.
“The 40-year-old Duncan comes off of a season in which he led the NBA in Defensive RPM (5.41) and became just the third player in league history to reach 1,000 career wins, as well as the only player to reach 1,000 wins with one team. He helped the Spurs to a franchise-best 67-15 record and also became one of two players in NBA history to record at least 26,000 points, 15,000 rebounds and 3,000 blocks in his career (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).”
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told Sports Illustrated earlier this year, “Timmy’s never been a very outspoken or emoting sort of individual on the court. Everybody does it differently.” Together, Popovich and Duncan won 1,001 games, more than any other coach-player pair in NBA history.
Former teammates and fellow NBA stars reacted to news of the 15-time All Star’s retirement with words of praise.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr played with Duncan for four seasons.
LeBron James, who recently led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA title in decades, expressed his admiration for Duncan.