LOS ANGELES • Tim Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs talisman who retired on Monday after 19 seasons and five National Basketball Association (NBA) titles, thanked fans and team-mates on Wednesday in a letter posted on the team's website.
The 40-year-old had not spoken publicly since the Spurs announced that he was retiring after spending his entire career with the team, who made him the No. 1 overall selection in the 1997 NBA draft.
"If asked to write a script for my career 19 years ago, there is no way I would've been able to dream up this journey," wrote Duncan, who led the Spurs to titles in 1999, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2014.
"I stand here at the end of this ride and look back in awe of what I've experienced.
"The wins and losses will be remembered, but what I'll remember most are the people.
"The fans inside the arena and out, the staff and coaches who pushed me and held me together, the team-mates (and even opponents) who will be lifelong friends, sharing my ups and downs with family and close friends, and, most importantly, the snapshots of my kids growing up and levering in watching Dad work.
"Thank you to the city of San Antonio for the love and the support over these years. Thank you to the fans all over the world."
Duncan, a native of the Virgin Islands, opted to go out without fanfare - just as he played. But he did speak on Wednesday, opening up on his thoughts about retirement.
"I started not enjoying myself as much. It wasn't fun as much," he said of the decision. "When it's not fun any more, I'm done."
Duncan was praised this week by long-time coach Gregg Popovich for a work ethic that made him the first to show up at practice and the last to leave.
Now that those demands are over, Duncan said he does not know just how his life will unfold.
"There is no script for the first time in 20-something years," he said.