Many tweeted "Thank you TD" to the star player including the Charlotte Hornets who tweeted: "Congratulations on an incredible career, Tim Duncan!".
But at the statistical level, Duncan falls just slightly behind other greats at the position.
Duncan proved he can still play even if he is already 40 years old.
He would go on to win four more titles, in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014, and was named Finals MVP twice more, in 2003 and 2005. According to For The Win, he is a recipient of two MVP trophies aside from being a five-time NBA champion, finals MVP three times, 15-time All-Star and All-NBA First Team for ten times.
Over his career, the Spurs posted a regular season record of 1,072-438, easily the best 19-year stretch in National Basketball Association history.
"The end of an era".
Conclusion? We're going to argue about whether Duncan is one of the best centers of all-time or simply the best power forward ever. "For two decades, Tim represented the Spurs, the city of San Antonio and the league with passion and class". He was named three times USA college basketball's top defensive player, as well as the Player of the Year in his final season before entering the 1997 NBA Draft.
The reluctant star was often overshadowed in the public eye by more outsized personalities like James and Kobe Bryant, who also retired this year after 20 seasons, all with the Los Angeles Lakers.
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.
The Spurs had the NBA's second-best record in the 2015-16 season but lost in the Western Conference semi-final, after which Duncan said he was contemplating his playing future. Popovich concurred: "Timmy's never been a very outspoken or emoting sort of individual on the court", Popovich said earlier this year. But last season's campaign was disrupted by a knee injury and he played in only 61 games. "I think the culture that really, he's kind of the pillar it's been built around".
And now he steps away, not stomping out the door like Bryant did with his 60-point finale, but tip-toeing away with no fanfare. "He's a great example for everyone".