Spurs announce plans to retire Tim Duncan's No. 21 jersey

Former MVP will be eighth player in team history to have his number retired

Long-time Spurs fans can probably uncross their fingers and stop hoping for the miracle return.

The only comeback Tim Duncan will be making to the AT&T Center is on Dec. 18 when the team retires his jersey in a ceremony that will follow a game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Duncan’s No. 21 will become the eighth Spurs player retired by the franchise, joining David Robinson (50), George Gervin (44), James Silas (13), Johnny Moore (00), Sean Elliott (32), Avery Johnson (6) and Bruce Bowen (12).

Duncan retired in July after playing a record 19 seasons in San Antonio and leading the team to five NBA championships. He is a lock for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021, his first year of eligibility.

The Big Fundamental is the Spurs’ all-time leader in points (26,496), rebounds (15,091), blocked shots (3,020), minutes (47,368) and games played (1,392) while ranking third in assists. In NBA history, Duncan is fifth all-time in double-doubles (841) and blocks, sixth in rebounding and 14th in scoring.

Back in the summer, when Duncan announced his retirement, coach Gregg Popovich summed up the greatest of all Spurs:

“You don’t see Timmy beating his chest as if he was the first human being to dunk the basketball, as a lot of people do these days. He’s not pointing to the sky. He’s not glamming to the cameras. He just plays, and we’ve seen it for so long it’s become almost mundane. But it’s so special that it has to be remembered.”

Now there’s an official date to do just that.