Five-time NBA champion and two-time league MVP Tim Duncan penned an official goodbye to fans, teammates, coaches, and the city of San Antonio that was released Wednesday afternoon.
Duncan, 40, declared he was retiring from the NBA on Monday after gathering multiple titles and individual accolades over a stellar and surefire 19-year Hall of Fame career with the San Antonio Spurs.
For nearly two decades, Duncan became synonymous with winning and helped the Spurs form one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. And Duncan wanted to thank all those involved with his personal statement.
Tim Duncan statement pic.twitter.com/W5VxFAmev0
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) July 13, 2016
The full text of the letter reads: “If asked to write a script for my career 19 years ago, there is no way I would’ve been able to dream up this journey.
“I tand here at the end of this ride and look back in awe of what I’ve experienced.
“The wins and losses will be remembered but what I’ll remember most are the people:
“The fans inside the arena and out, the staff and coaches who pushed me and held me together, the teammates (and even opponents) who will be lifelong friends, sharing my ups and downs with family and close friends, and, most importantly, the snapshots of my kids growing up and reveling in watching Dad work. That is what I will cherish the most.
“Thank you to the city of San Antonio for the love and support over these years. Thank you to the fans all over the world.
“Much Love Always,
The poignant and heartfelt tone of the letter is a far cry from the Duncan fans, even those who call San Antonio home, are accustom to. Though he collected endorsement deals from top brands like Nike, Duncan always shied away from the NBA’s massive spotlight and never once dealt with any controversy away from the court.
Duncan often credited his teammates and coaches for his success, and never seemed to take much stock his personal achievements, even though they are considerable. The No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, Duncan would collect 15 All-Star nods, two league MVPs, three finals MVPs, and was named to the All-NBA first team nine times in his career.
Given his propensity to shy away from reporters or acclaim, Duncan didn’t even show up to his retirement announcement. Instead, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich addressed reporters in a quasi-news conference.
"I'm trying to wrap my head around why I'm standing here and he's not,” Popovich said. “And we all know why. It's not Tim Duncan. We've been saying it for 19 years and he really only cared about doing the best job he could basketball-wise and being who he was for his teammates and being somebody who loved his family. That's really who he is.”