San Antonio Spurs History

Spurs: Tim Duncan's Hall of Fame Career, from 21-1

May 15, 2021, 10:00 AM CDT
Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan / Ronald Cortes/Getty Images
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To wrap up a jam-packed week of tributes to the San Antonio Spurs' greatest player ever (starting with this one), I got a bit creative. It's easy to find Tim Duncan's greatest accomplishments in accolade form if you simply visit his Basketball Reference or Wikipedia pages, but I wanted to share some things people might not have heard about The Big Fundamental.

To do this, I scoured the internet and my personal knowledge to count down from his famous jersey number 21 down to one, mixing in personal facts about Duncan with statistical ones. Undoubtedly, some of these will be common knowledge but nonetheless fun reminders of just how good Spurs' fans had it in his era.

With one last basketball achievement looming in the form of Hall of Fame immortalization, here's a look back at the 19-year career of Tim Duncan.

21: Tim Duncan's number, worn as a tribute to his brother-in-law

Any Spurs fan following the team between 2000 and 2015 certainly has at least a couple of number 21 jerseys in their collection. Tim's now-retired number will forever be remembered in NBA history, but not many know how he settled on that number.

As it turns out, Duncan's brother-in-law, Ricky Lowery, not only inspired Duncan to wear the number but to pursue basketball in the first place. Lowery played point guard in college, wearing the number 21 at the time. Thanks to some encouragement by Lowery and heavy recruiting by Wake Forest, Tim eventually found himself in San Antonio years later.

20: Games it took the San Antonio Spurs to clinch their fourth NBA title

When you have a tough time deciding which of your franchise's title-winning teams was best, you know you have it good as a fanbase. San Antonio won five titles from 1999-2014, with each team having special qualities of their own.

Going by sheer win percentage, the 1999 title team, going 15-2, were statistically the best playoff team the Spurs ever had, winning 88.2 percent of their games. However, that first title still involved a five-game first round. Out of all the championship runs with strictly best-of-sevens, the 2007 team stands above the rest.

The 2007 title team crushed everyone in the postseason, going 16-4 in the playoffs to capture title number four.

19: Seasons Tim Duncan played with the San Antonio Spurs

I could've gone a number of ways with this number, but the fact that Tim Duncan stayed with the Spurs for nearly two decades needs to be honored. Guys like Duncan are rare in the modern NBA, with players often seeking an easy ring by teaming up with other stars in a big market.

After his 19th season in the Alamo City, Duncan joined Kobe Bryant and John Stockton as the only players to spend at least 19 seasons with one team. Dirk Nowitzki since joined that club with the Mavericks and now holds the record for most seasons with a team with 21.

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