California: San Antonio Spurs star power forward Tim Duncan on Monday announced his retirement after 19 seasons in the NBA, ending a glittering career that included five National Basketball Association championships and 15 All-Star Game appearances.
The 40-year-old Duncan, who was originally selected by the Spurs as the first overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft, spent his entire career with the team. They reached the playoffs in every one of his 19 seasons.
"Nineteen seasons. Five rings. One team. #ThankYouTD," the Spurs tweeted.
Duncan, together with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, formed one of the most successful trios in NBA history. They hold the league record for regular season wins (575) and postseason wins (126), according to the team.
Duncan and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich also formed a dynamic duo, accounting for the most wins ever by a player-coach duo at 1,001.
Duncan, a three-time NBA Finals MVP and a two-time regular season MVP, is widely regarded as one of the best power forwards ever to play the game.
Duncan led San Antonio to titles in 1999, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2014. The Spurs posted a 1,072-438 regular-season record since drafting Duncan -- the best 19-year run in league history.
He averaged 19 points and 10.8 rebounds per game during his career. But last season`s campaign was disrupted by a knee injury and he played in only 61 games.
San Antonio was eliminated in the playoffs this past season by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Duncan`s final game was a 113-99 loss to the Thunder in game six of the Western Conference semi-finals on May 12. In his career finale, he scored 19 points, with five rebounds and a block in 34 minutes.
In a league where players often change teams on an annual basis, Duncan was an anomaly -- he remained with the Spurs for his entire 19 seasons.
At the end of June, Duncan had exercised a $6.4 million player option for next season, but talk of retirement loomed large.
Spanish star Pau Gasol, who during his career has played power forward and center, has reportedly agreed to join San Antonio on a two-year deal worth $30 million, after spending the last two seasons with the Chicago Bulls -- and it now looks like he will help fill the void left by Duncan.
Ginobili, 38, has said he plans to take his time in deciding about playing a 15th season for the Spurs for $2.9 million next season.
News about Duncan quickly began trending on Twitter, with the hashtag #ThankYouTD taking hold.
Kobe Bryant, who like Duncan won five league titles over a two decade career with the same team, was one of the first to react to the news.
"Congrats TD #19yrs #GoSpursGo," tweeted Bryant, who also retired at the end of this past season after 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ginobili, who is pondering his future, said it was an emotional day for him.
"Even tho I knew it was coming, I`m still moved by the news. What a HUGE honor to have played with him for 14 seasons! #ThankYouTD."