Buck Harvey writes that what Tim brought to San Antonio was more than just championships.
After nearly two decades of sweat and celebration, of private work and public critiques, all with one franchise and one coach and five trophies, Tim Duncan won't be the only one adjusting to a new world.
San Antonio, too, will never be the same now that the Duncan years are over.
Neil Paine of FiveThirtyEight calls Tim Duncan the greatest two-way player in modern NBA history and backs it up with stats.
Jack McCallum of Sports Illustrated penned his farewell to Timmy.
That sturdy, I've-got-everybody's-back element is now gone from the Spurs, who were often (and rightly) held up as one of the sports world's model franchises. But it's gone from the game, too. It's hard to imagine that the Duncan blueprint will be duplicated—a four-year college player who comes into the league with a skill set almost fully developed, never bows to free-agent seduction, wins consistently, doesn't change on or off the court, and then almost tiptoes out the door, no doubt flashing a sly smile at how easily he escaped.
Kevin Arnovitz calls Big Fun the most influential player of his time.
Inside the league, Tim Duncan became the most influential player of his generation. Though he had little public appeal outside central Texas over his two decades in the league, Duncan ushered in cultural change in NBA practice facilities, locker rooms and executive suites. The present-day NBA has become singularly consumed with the adoption and implementation of organizational culture. Forever looking for competitive advantages, franchises have turned to workplace culture as a bulwark. We might not be able to attract a top-line free agent, or hit the jackpot in the draft, but there are 44 games in an NBA season that can be won if we value the right things.
Russ Bengston celebrates the big man.
The weird thing about Duncan is that he wasn't a throwback, no matter how much we try and hang that tag on him. He mastered the fundamentals, certainly, but so did Bryant, and no one ever tried to call Kobe a throwback. Duncan took bank shots not because they were old school, but because they were the right shots to take. The fact that very few other players take them says more about NBA players in general than it does about Duncan. Duncan's game wasn't old-fashioned, it was timeless. At some point, he had all the trappings of the modern-day player—max contracts (he made $240 million in his career), signature shoes, national commercials, tattoos, and custom cars. Hell, he has his own custom car shop. He played video games. He just didn't let any of that stuff take over. Basketball remained his primary focus until, well, today. There's a reason he always used to hug the ball.
Marc Stein revisits his 2014 piece on Tim and Pop. If you haven't read it, you should.
Tom Ziller gives Duncan high marks.
In my personal basketball history textbook, Duncan goes down as the best power forward of all time, the second-best big man ever and the third-best player in history.
Finally, check out this tribute video if you're up for it -- it might get a little dusty.