After 19 seasons and five titles, Spurs forward Tim Duncan retires from NBA

Tim Duncan, regarded as the best power forward in NBA history, announced his retirement from the San Antonio Spurs on Monday. And true to the form, the always understated Duncan announced his retirement with a simple team press release.

From the Spurs:

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan today announced that he will retire after 19 seasons with the organization. Since drafting Duncan, the Spurs won five championships and posted a 1,072-438 regular season record, giving the team a .710 winning percentage, which is the best 19-year stretch in NBA history and was the best in all of the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB over the last 19 years.

Duncan spent his entire 19-year career with the Spurs, winning five championships, two regular season MVPs and three Finals MVPs. The 15-time All-Star, drafted No. 1 overall from Wake Forest in 1997, averaged 19 points (while shooting 50.8 percent from the floor), 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.17 blocks throughout his career.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement praising Duncan as "one of the most dominant players in NBA history."

"Tim Duncan is one of the most dominant players in NBA history. His devotion to excellence and mastery of the game led to five NBA championships, two regular-season MVP awards and a place among the all-time greats, while his understated selflessness made him the ultimate teammate. For two decades Tim represented the Spurs, the city of San Antonio and the league with passion and class. All of us in the NBA family thank him for his profound impact on the game."

Duncan hasn't been in his prime for quite some time now but he's was still a very effective player late in his career. Especially on the defensive end, where last season Duncan -- according to the Spurs -- led the NBA in Defensive RPM (5.41). Last season at 40 years old, Duncan averaged a very productive 8.6 points and 7.3 rebounds in 25.2 minutes a game.

Duncan retiring signals an end of an era in San Antonio. The Big 3 of Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker is now no more and San Antonio will now continue to build around Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge. The Spurs should still be one of the top teams in the league without Duncan, but his absence, especially from a leadership standpoint, will surely be missed. But all good things can't last forever and the Spurs should be able to move on rather quickly under the guidance of coach Gregg Popovich.

And for Duncan, he will likely stay under the radar and fade away from the NBA spotlight until we see him in Springfield in a few years.

CBS Sports Writer

Ananth Pandian has been writing about all NBA-related things including the social and lifestyle aspect of the sport for CBS Sports since 2015. His name is actually easy to pronounce, just remember it is... Full Bio

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