Tim Duncan called it a career today. There wasn’t much more left for the weathered power-forward to do. In 19 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, Duncan collected five NBA titles, three NBA Finals MVP awards, two regular season MVPs and 15 NBA All-Star Selections.
The soft-spoken big-man was also a constant on the All-NBA and All-Defensive teams during his career.
He was college Player of the Year at Wake Forest in 1997, Number one overall pick in the same year, Rookie of the Year in '98, Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year in 2003, and the NBA’s Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year in 2015.
Duncan retires as the all-time leading scorer in San Antonio Spurs history. He is synonymous with the franchise in ways that surpass other past Spurs greats like David Robinson and George Gervin.
Stars remaining with the same team over the course of their careers is very rare in the NBA. This past season featured a lengthy farewell tour for the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant.
Both of these stars are linked because they played nearly the same number of years and their style contrasted so thoroughly.
Duncan didn’t want the long goodbye that Bryant savored and that’s part of how his personality has functioned as a professional. Although, I don’t begrudge the Mamba for wanting to take his curtain call.
We decided to give him a curtain call of our own. Here are Tim Duncan’s five best playoff performances:
Game sevens’s are usually like the one the world just witnessed in the NBA Finals. Defensive struggles where both teams are basically playing on raw emotion and adrenaline are usually the name of the game.
This game was none of that.
It was beautiful and at the center of it were Chris Paul and Tim Duncan. Paul had the game-winning shot at the buzzer to win it. But, Duncan was truly special with 27 points and 11 rebounds in his effort.
This has to be Duncan at his most dominant as he and the Spurs vanquished a Shaquille O’Neal-led Lakers team 110-82. He tallied 37 points and 16 rebounds against the Spurs’ biggest rivals at the time.
Duncan asserted the legitimacy of his MVP award with this performance against the most dominating presence in the game at that time in O’Neal and stopping the Lakers’ bid for a four-peat.
Although Duncan did not triumph in this particular contest or series. He was the engine that drove the Spurs during the series. 30 points and 17 rebounds for the aging forward against LeBron James and his Heat.
The game was so close that the trophy was wheeled out for a Spurs celebration and ripped away. Game six of these finals is a definitive candidate for best NBA game ever.
I remember this one like it was yesterday. I was in a barbershop in Cleveland watching it while waiting to get into the chair. The Suns tried to deal the Spurs a huge blow by taking their best shot in the first game of this series.
I will always remember Duncan hitting his first three-pointer of the season to effectively snatch the hearts of the Suns. 40 points and 15 rebounds doesn’t hurt either.
Duncan’s single greatest statistical game. This one came mere weeks after sending Shaq and the Lakers home.
He notched 21 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, and eight blocks. Just amazing domination while holding Kenyon Martin to 3-23 shooting. This is arguably the best performance in a closeout game ever.
There will never be another Tim Duncan.