Tim Duncan’s No. 21 will live on forever

On Wednesday the San Antonio Spurs announced they will be retiring Tim Duncan’s No. 21 on December 18th in a special post-game ceremony.

Coming into the season, not many knew exactly how it would go as fans and players were still reeling from the announcement of Tim Duncan’s retirement from the game.

It delivered a crushing blow to all. Many had the chance of watching him grow through his 19 years, all with San Antonio, and bring the city five championships.

What Duncan brought to the Spurs was leadership and his competitiveness. Duncan was the definition on what a teammate is. He did not go out and try to be the leading scorer, or pose as the best player on the team. He was the kind of player to make sure everyone stuck to their role and did not do anything out of the ordinary.

There are so many memories over his 19 year career. There were good times and bad. He gave his all for San Antonio. He stayed with the team that took him No. 1 overall in the 1997 draft. He stuck with them. Through thick and thin.

In fact, he helped lay the foundation for the Spurs. He helped the team attract free agents that would never of thought twice in joining. Besides, San Antonio is a small market but five titles and having one of the best coaches in the league can sway players.

That is what Duncan helped do. He was not the flashiest of players. He did dawn the three piece suits nor was he seen wearing thick gold chains, he was, himself.

Now the organization he helped bring five titles will show their appreciation in retiring the number in which will only be worn for his legacy.

In his final season with the Spurs, Duncan became 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.

Here are some other notable facts from Duncan’s career:

  • He helped the Spurs to a franchise-best 67-15 record
  • 1 of 2 players in NBA history to record at least 26,000 points, 15,000 rebounds and 3,000 blocks in his career (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).
  • 15 All-NBA Team selections (tied for most all-time)
  • 15 NBA All-Defensive Team honors (most all-time)
  • 1998 Rookie of the Year
  • 2X NBA MVP  (2002, 2003)
  • 3X NBA Finals MVP (1999, 2003 and 2005)
  • 5th All-Time in double-doubles (841) and blocks
  • 6th All-Time in rebounding
  • 14th All-Time in scoring

In his NBA career, total he appeared in 1,392 games and averaged 19.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.17 blocks in 34.0 minutes.

The Big Fundamental is the Spurs all-time NBA leader in total points (26,496), rebounds (15,091), blocked shots (3,020), minutes (47,368) and games played (1,392), as well as third in assists (4,225).

Duncan has reached the playoffs every season in his career. He is the only player in NBA history to play over 9,000 career minutes in the playoffs.

Here are other notable stats from Duncan in the playoffs:

  • Duncan ranks first all-time in postseason double-doubles (164) and blocks (568)
  • 6th in points (5,172)
  • 3rd in rebounds (2,859)
  • 2nd All-Time in appearances (251 contests) (second all-time)
  • For his career, Duncan averaged 20.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 37.3 minutes while shooting .501 (1,975-3,939) from the field.

We knew the time would come when we would see No. 21 hanging from the rafters. As we have learned from Duncan, this surely is something he would care less for, he was always personal.

Never wanted the attention.

That is what made him special. His legacy will live on forever. Now when fans look up in the rafters, they will see “21” beautifully hanging along with other Spurs legends.

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