Tim Duncan has been a staple of American basketball for nearly two decades now and his list of accomplishments are longer than Shaquille O'Neal's wingspan.
The career-long San Antonio Spurs star has 1,572 NBA games under his belt and has started all but two of them. The 39-year-old is a five-time NBA Champion, 15-time All-Star, two-time regular season MVP, All-Star MVP and three-time Finals MVP.
The litany of accolades goes on and on. But after the Spurs demolished Western Conference rivals the Los Angeles Clippers by 21-points last night, Duncan rose above Boston Celtics legend John Havlicek into 14th on the league's all-time scorers list.
Article continues below
Duncan is already the record scorer for the Spurs and the six points he recorded in Tuesday night's victory was enough to climb into 14th place behind LeBron James.
The legendary center now has 26,396 points to his name during his tenure in the league and if he wants to usurp Hakeem Olajuwon and break into the top ten, Duncan will need to drop another 550 points.
Article continues below
How realistic is that? Duncan is only second to teammate Andre Miller as the oldest player in the NBA and his minutes this season and thus, his output, are significantly down on his career averages.
For example, the frontcourt superstar has been averaging 8.5 points and 7.4 rebounds during 25.1 minutes a night this term. His stellar career averages are 19.1 points and 10.9 rebounds over 34.1 minutes.
His long-time coach Gregg Popovich summarised Duncan's importance down the years. He said:
"He's been clutcher than clutch. At the end of close games, everyone knows we're going to him. That makes it much tougher on Dunc, of course—and he still comes through."
The 10-time NBA First-Teamer does have a player option on his contract for $5.6 million should he decide to return next season. Should his output remain what it has been this year and he featured in all 82 regular season games, Duncan would amass 697 points.
Duncan has featured in 50 games this campaign of the Spurs' 67. It's unlikely that he will churn out an 80-game season for the first time in a decade next year, and it's debatable that his production won't suffer a further hit.
On the other hand, the Spurs are absolutely flying at present and if the Golden State Warriors weren't exhibiting never seen before success, the Texas franchise would be lauded as one of the great teams of its era.
With a record of 57-10, the Spurs host the Warriors on Saturday night hoping to put a dent in their visitors hopes of breaking the Chicago Bulls record-setting 1995-96 regular season record of 72-10.
Another ring is likely to be more important to a fierce competitor like Duncan than any personal accolade, and Saturday's showdown may well shape his chances.