Impeccable defense and ability to adapt.
Despite being pegged as the No. 1 pick during his sophomore season at Wake Forest, Duncan remained in college for all four years. He was a two-time consensus All-America and the Naismith College Player of the Year as a senior in 1997 after leading the ACC in scoring (20.8 ppg) and rebounding (14.7 rpg).
Already one of the NBA's more successful teams when he arrived in 1997, the Spurs made the playoffs in all 19 seasons with Duncan and won at least 50 games in 18 of those seasons. The Spurs won 71% of their games in his 19 seasons in San Antonio, the best such stretch in the history of U.S. major professional sports.
Duncan played all 19 NBA campaigns for the Spurs, tied for the third-longest career with one team and trailing only Dirk Nowitzki (21) and Kobe Bryant (20) in NBA history.
He averaged at least 20 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in nine of his first 10 seasons. One of his best seasons stats-wise came in 2001-02, when he posted 25.5 ppg, 12.7 rpg and 2.5 bpg while shooting 50.8% overall.
Duncan won a total of 1,158 regular season and playoff games in his career, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in NBA history. Key to that success was Duncan's partnership with coach Gregg Popovich. Their 1,001 combined wins together are the most of any player-coach tandem in NBA history.
He formed similar on-court synergy with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, setting NBA records for a trio with 575 regular-season wins and 126 playoff wins in their 14 seasons together.
An elite shot blocker and team defender, Duncan's 15 total All-Defensive selections are three more than any player in NBA history. His 15 All-NBA nods are tied for second.
He led the Spurs to their first championship in 1998-99, posting 27.4 ppg, 14.0 rpg and 2.2 bpg in The Finals en route to a 4-1 victory over the Knicks. That helped him to the first of his three Finals MVPs. The key to that victory was Duncan's "Twin Towers" partnership with David Robinson, helping the Spurs lead the league in defensive rating that season.
Duncan had one of the best individual playoff runs in NBA history during the 2003 postseason, averaging 24.7 points, 15.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 3.3 blocks over 24 games to carry the Spurs to their second title. He narrowly missed a quadruple-double with 21 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists and eight blocks against the Nets in Game 6 of The Finals.
Helped the Spurs win the fifth and final championship of his career with a comprehensive rout of the LeBron James' Heat in the 2014 Finals. Only Abdul-Jabbar (17 years) had a longer stretch between two titles than Duncan's 15.