On Monday morning the NBA lost an icon with the announcement that Tim Duncan had officially retired as a member of the San Antonio Spurs. The fact that Duncan did it by press release, and will reportedly not show up to his own retirement press conference on Tuesday, is the most Tim Duncan move ever, and the perfect way for this particular all-time legend to leave the game.
By now, we all know Duncan's incredible accolades: After a four-year career at Wake Forest that included two ACC Player of the Year awards, and consensus first-team All-American honors in back-to-back years, he went to San Antonio where he played 19 years and won five NBA titles, as well as MVP awards in 2002 and 2003.
Still, to simply say Duncan's career was "incredible" is an understatement, and not a full appreciation for everything that he did throughout his time in the game of basketball.
Let's take things one step further. Here are 21 incredible facts about No. 21, Tim Duncan.
1. It's pretty common knowledge by now, but Duncan actually grew up as a champion swimmer in his native St. Croix. He only picked up basketball after a hurricane swept through his native country and left the only pool on the island unsuitable for use.
2. After picking up basketball he eventually went on to a four-year career at Wake Forest, where he likely could have been the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft following both his sophomore and junior seasons. However he stayed until his senior year, because he made a promise to his mother (who passed away when he was 14) that he'd get his degree.
3. While at Wake Forest, he co-authored a chapter of a psychology book. Of course he did.
4. Tim Duncan won Rookie of the Year with the Spurs in 1998. He also won Rookie of the Month every single month during that season.
5. Duncan's Spurs won at least 50 regular season games for the last 17 seasons, the most consecutive 50+ win regular seasons in NBA history. The only time Duncan's Spurs didn't hit the 50 win plateau was in a lockout-shortened 1998-99 season where they played just 50 games total. The Spurs went on to win the title that season.
6. Duncan retires as one of only three players in NBA history with 1,000 career wins.
7. He's the only player in NBA history to win 1,000 games with one team.
8. He and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar are the only players in NBA history with 26,000 points, 15,000 rebounds and 3,000 blocks.
9. He finishes his career ranked Top 10 all-time in regular season rebounds (No. 7) and blocks (No. 6).
10. Duncan's 19 years in San Antonio is tied for second most all-time for one player with one team. The only player who played more consecutive years with one team is Kobe Bryant, who played 20 straight years with the Lakers.
11. Duncan's team made the playoffs all 19 years he played in the NBA. That is the most ever, for one player, with one team in NBA history.
12. Not only did Duncan win five NBA titles, but he and John Salley are the only players in NBA history to win titles in three different decades.
13. Unlike Salley, Duncan is the only player to start and win a title in three different decades. His five titles came in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014.
14. His 251 playoff games is second most all-time, behind only Derek Fisher.
15. Duncan also ranks in the Top 10 all-time in playoff minutes played (No. 10), playoff points (No. 6), playoff rebounds (No. 4), playoff free throws made (No. 5) and playoff blocks (No. 1.).
16. When Duncan and the Spurs beat Oklahoma City in Game 2 of the 2014 Western Conference Finals, he, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker set an NBA record for most playoff wins by one trio in NBA history. Their 111 broke a record held by Magic Johnson, Michael Cooper and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar.
17. Duncan is one of only four players to ever win three NBA Finals MVP's, joining Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal.
18. On December 3rd, 2013, Duncan scored 23 points and had 21 rebounds in a win vs. the Hawks. He became the oldest player in NBA history to record a 20-20 game.
19. Duncan made 15 All-NBA teams are tied with Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and Kobe Bryant for the most all-time.
20. Duncan made 15 All-NBA Defensive teams, which is an NBA record.
21. He remains the first, and only NBA player to average at least 13 points and nine rebounds at the age of 38 or older.
Oh, and here's one more fact about Duncan: He made his NBA debut back on October 31st, 1997. Dragan Bender, the No. 4 overall pick in the most recent NBA Draft wasn't born until a few weeks later.
Enjoy retirement, Tim Duncan.
It's well deserved.