Five championships, two MVPs, and 19 years later, Spurs' legend Tim Duncan has announced his retirement from the NBA.
Duncan, who turned 40 in April, was the first cog of the San Antonio Spurs' 2000s dynasty. Drafted no. 1 overall in the 1997 Draft, Duncan excelled alongside veteran David Robinson. The two, nicknamed the "Twin Towers," led the Spurs to a 1999 championship victory with Coach Gregg Popovich. After Robinson retired, Duncan was joined shortly by Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs' powerful trio. They went on to consistently dominate the Western Conference, winning championships in 2003, 2005, and 2007. The trio (and Popovich) then punctuated their era of excellence with another championship in 2014.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili were the first set of three or more teammates to win four titles together since Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Cooper and Kurt Rambis did it with the Los Angeles Lakers. Additionally, no trio won more regular season or playoff games than the Spurs' core did.
Duncan, though, leaves the league as an all-time great player. Him and Popovich recorded 1,001 wins together, the most by a player and coach in NBA history. He was awarded almost every accolade imaginable, from 1998 Rookie of the Year to 15 All-Star Game appearances to 10 All-NBA First Team designations to the Spurs' all-time leading scorer.
He finishes his NBA career ranking 14th all time overall in points, sixth in rebounds, and fifth in blocks.
He also enjoyed a successful college career, winning National College Player of the Year in 1997 during four standout years at Wake Forest.
Duncan's absence will, undoubtedly, be felt all around the NBA. Although he never was the flashiest or loudest on the court, Duncan leaves behind a trail of consistent excellence that we have not seen replicated often in the NBA and in sports.