Spurs Legend Tim Duncan Leaves Behind Extraordinary Legacy
Spurs Legend Tim Duncan

by Ben Leibowitz

San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan's retirement leaves behind a legacy that expands far beyond what he did on the court.

He was drafted No. 1 overall in 1997 and played 19 seasons for the same organization. He won five NBA titles, his first and last an astonishing 15 years apart. He won Rookie of the Year, two MVP awards and three Finals MVPs. He's widely considered the greatest power forward of all time, even though he played the latter half of his career almost entirely at center.

Tim Duncan, the face of the San Antonio Spurs dynasty, opted to retire and leave approximately $6.3 million on the table.

By announcing his retirement during the doldrums of the offseason, without a clich├ęd farewell letter posted to The Players' Tribune, Duncan retires much like how he decided to play -- with an unassuming demeanor that always put the team ahead of himself.

Make no mistake, Tim Duncan could have absolutely continued playing at a high level at age 40. His defensive box plus-minus of 4.97 at age 39 was not only the best on the Spurs by a wide margin, but it also led the league.

But with San Antonio landing free-agent prize LaMarcus Aldridge last offseason and signing veteran big man Pau Gasol to a two-year, $30 million deal this summer (the second year is a player option), perhaps Duncan felt it was time to say goodbye in part because the franchise has capable bigs ready to take the reins.

"The Big Fundamental" will retire at No. 14 on the NBA's all-time scoring list, sandwiched between Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins and former Boston Celtics great John Havlicek.

No surprise, Duncan will also end his career as the Spurs' all-time leading scorer. Even when counting years played in the ABA for guys like George Gervin and James Silas, Timmy D maintains a comfortable lead atop the franchise leaderboard.

Moreover, Duncan ranks No. 5 all time in blocks and No. 6 all time in rebounds. He's a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, and is arguably a top-five player in league history.

In true Duncan fashion, there will be no grandiose farewell tour filled with parting gifts. Instead, Duncan will call it quits as quietly as his soft-spoken voice answering questions in a postgame press conference.

It's difficult to quantify what Duncan meant to not only the game of basketball, but also to the Spurs. Former teammate Bruce Bowen weighed in thusly, per the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen.

Everything.

That's what Duncan meant to the San Antonio Spurs.

His immense talents on the court drove a dynasty that won five championships. His approach off the court, however, created the culture head coach Gregg Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford were striving to achieve.

Duncan's illustrious career is over, but the impact he had on the organization will live on through Kawhi Leonard and other stars who buy in to "The Spurs Way."

NBA Regular Season Stats

Season Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1997--98San Antonio828239.1.549.000.66211.92.7.72.521.1
1998--99San Antonio505039.3.495.143.69011.42.4.92.521.7
1999--00San Antonio747438.9.490.091.76112.43.2.92.223.2
2000--01San Antonio828238.7.499.259.61812.23.0.92.322.2
2001--02San Antonio828240.6.508.100.79912.73.7.72.525.5
2002--03San Antonio818139.3.513.273.71012.93.9.72.923.3
2003--04San Antonio696836.6.501.167.59912.43.1.92.722.3
2004--05San Antonio666633.4.496.333.67011.12.7.72.620.3
2005--06San Antonio808034.8.484.400.62911.03.2.92.018.6
2006--07San Antonio808034.1.546.111.63710.63.4.82.420.0
2007--08San Antonio787834.0.497.000.73011.32.8.71.919.3
2008--09San Antonio757533.6.504.000.69210.73.5.51.719.3
2009--10San Antonio787731.3.519.182.72510.13.2.61.517.9
2010--11San Antonio767628.3.500.000.7168.92.7.71.913.4
2011--12San Antonio585828.2.492.000.6959.02.3.71.515.4
2012--13San Antonio696930.1.502.286.8179.92.7.72.717.8
2013--14San Antonio747429.2.490.000.7319.73.0.61.915.1
2014--15San Antonio777728.9.512.286.7409.13.0.82.013.9
2015--16San Antonio616025.2.488.000.7027.32.7.81.38.6
Career1,3921,38934.0.506.179.69610.83.0.72.219.0
All-Star141221.1.549.250.7659.12.1.9.69.9

 

NBA Playoff Stats

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1998San Antonio9941.6.521.000.6679.01.9.62.620.7
1999San Antonio171743.1.511.000.74811.52.8.82.623.2
2001San Antonio131340.5.4881.000.63914.53.81.12.724.4
2002San Antonio9942.2.453.333.82214.45.0.74.327.6
2003San Antonio242442.5.529.000.67715.45.3.63.324.7
2004San Antonio101040.5.522.000.63211.33.2.82.022.1
2005San Antonio232337.8.464.200.71712.42.7.32.323.6
2006San Antonio131337.9.573.000.71810.53.3.81.925.8
2007San Antonio202036.8.521-.64411.53.3.73.122.2
2008San Antonio171739.2.449.200.62614.53.3.92.120.2
2009San Antonio5532.8.532-.6078.03.2.61.219.8
2010San Antonio101037.3.520.500.4789.92.6.81.719.0
2011San Antonio6635.3.478-.62510.52.7.52.512.7
2012San Antonio141433.1.495.000.7079.42.8.72.117.4
2013San Antonio212135.0.470.000.80610.21.9.91.618.1
2014San Antonio232332.7.523.000.7609.11.9.31.316.3
2015San Antonio7735.7.589.000.55911.13.31.31.417.9
2016San Antonio101021.8.423-.7144.81.4.21.35.9
Career25125137.3.501.143.68911.43.0.72.320.6

Article: Courtesy Point After

NBA Basketball: "Spurs Legend Tim Duncan Leaves Behind Extraordinary Legacy"