LEGENDARY: St. Croix’s Tim Duncan Retires After 19 Years In The NBA
Duncan was an elite player on an excellent Spurs team for his entire career. The Spurs made the playoffs every year in his tenure, never with a winning percentage lower than .610, and won five titles, with Duncan the finals’ most valuable player in three of them. He also won the league M.V.P. Award twice.
A relative latecomer to basketball growing up in the Virgin Islands, the 6-foot-11 Duncan was initially a swimmer. He was the No. 1 pick in the N.B.A. draft after four years at Wake Forest. (The Spurs had the top pick as a result of a rare down season largely caused by an injury to David Robinson.) The player selected just after Duncan, Keith Van Horn, has been out of the league for a decade.
Duncan initially starred in a “twin towers” lineup with Robinson, winning two titles. After Robinson’s retirement in 2004, he carried on as the team’s star, winning three more N.B.A. crowns, most recently in 2013-14 over the Miami Heat in LeBron James’s last year there.
Duncan’s low-key nature often kept him out of the spotlight, but the sheer force of his accomplishments pushes him onto just about every list of the greats.
Duncan ranks fifth in career blocked shots (3,020), sixth in rebounds (15,091), seventh in games played (1,392) and 14th in points (26,496).
Duncan’s playing time had gradually been reduced in recent years, and he had ceded his starring role on the San Antonio Spurs to Kawhi Leonard.
Though he started 60 of the 61 games he played this season, he hit career lows in just about every category. But he was an All-Star as recently as 2015.
Meanwhile, the local tributes to Duncan the man and his career were just beginning to pour in:
“Tim’s successes were both on and off the basketball court,” Gov. Kenneth Mapp said. “Tim will always stand out as a fine gentleman which is a great source of pride for all of us.”
In Washington, D.C. the delegate had her say.
“Best wishes to the greatest power forward of all time on his retirement from the NBA,” said Rep. Stacey Plaskett on Facebook. “Our native son, #TimDuncan has decided to hang-up his Spurs jersey and close this chapter of his storied career. Thank you for the memories!”
“Tim Duncan retires from the NBA,” Greenough said in Frederiksted via Facebook. “Best of luck Timmy you will be missed.”