But Duncan, who actively shunned celebrity, personified the phrase "ball is life". He was never going to have the victory lap around the league, being feted from city to city, being forced to be at the center of attention day after day. He never wanted the accolades, only the collective achievement.
Duncan joined the spurs and stayed with the team his entire career.
No big news conference.
San Antonio was eliminated in the playoffs this past season by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Duncan never embraced us, but we never embraced him.
Now Duncan's history-making National Basketball Association run is over. "Wow, what a career". 19 seasons in the league with the same organisation in the San Antonio Spurs, 17 seasons with 50+ winning season record, 5 time champion, 2 time League MVP, 3 times Finals MVP, 15 times All Star and the list goes on. "Greatest power forward ever!"
"The Spurs tweeted: "#ThankYouTD, for everything".
Duncan, who turned 40 in April, was the No. 1 overall pick out of Wake Forest in 1997. Duncan and Robinson played together on the franchise's first two championship teams.
Duncan averaged 19 points per game over his career, while adding 11 rebounds and 2 blocks per game.
Even Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was moved by Duncan's quiet, dignified exit.
"Tim Duncan is one of the most dominant players in National Basketball Association history". The total could have been even higher - Duncan took a significant pay cut over his final four seasons to allow San Antonio to pursue additional talent in free agency.
Duncan, teaming with head coach Gregg Popovich and Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, was the backbone for the franchise's championship run.
Along with good health, Duncan and the Spurs are coming off of a strong season. In 61 games this season with San Antonio, Duncan shot just eight points per game. Of those games he played in, he won 1,001 times - a winning percentage of.719. He was an on court coach. "Everybody does it differently".
His first year in the NBA, Duncan walked away with Rookie of the Year honors after averaging a double double - 21 points and 12 rebounds.
There couldn't have been a more fitting time for the news of Tim Duncan's retirement to begin to leak out than in the aftermath of Kevin Durant's announcement to switch teams on the morning of July 4. He was only 22 years old.
He had 140 different teammates in his career and he handled taking the baton from Robinson in 1998 just as gracefully as he did passing it to Kawhi Leonard in 2014.
Duncan was the embodiment of the persona of selflessness that has become the overriding characterization of the Spurs, as he always provided what the team needed. He was too much for the Pistons defense time after time, and his threat in the post made it impossible for the Pistons to key on the Spurs shooters and prevent them from getting open for three-pointers. "We thank you for all that you've done for the game".