Spurs' Tim Duncan Becomes 1st Player to Start and Win Championships in 3 Decades

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Spurs' Tim Duncan Becomes 1st Player to Start and Win Championships in 3 Decades
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Tim Duncan and the rest of the San Antonio Spurs put on a team basketball clinic in Sunday’s Game 5 to overwhelm the Miami Heat for the third straight game and win the 2014 NBA championship. The Finals triumph marked Duncan's fifth NBA title in 17 seasons, all with San Antonio.

Duncan is just the second player in NBA history, joining John Salley, to win an NBA championship in three different decades. Per NBA.com/StatsDuncan is the first and only player to achieve the feat as a starting player on each of the championship teams. 

The 15 years between Duncan's first title and this 2014 title mark is the second-longest span between NBA championships, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar having gone 17 seasons from his first title in 1971 to his last in 1988, per NBA.com/Stats.

Duncan is just the 26th NBA player to win five NBA championships (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014) and joins Kobe Bryant as the only active players with five rings, per Basketball-Reference.

Boston Celtics Hall of Famer Bill Russell tops the all-time list, having played on 11 championship teams, despite retiring after 13 seasons. Of course, Russell played most of his career when there were only eight or nine teams in the NBA, though the league did reach 14 clubs by his final season in 1968-69.

Teammates Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili now have four rings each, matching Duncan except for the title won alongside David Robinson in 1999. Parker and Ginobili are two of the 37 players with four championships, a feat that has only been surpassed by Duncan and Bryant among active players.

Over the course of the NBA Finals, the Spurs' Big Three of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili extended their record for most playoff wins as a trio to 117 games, per NBA.com/Stats. They are now seven games ahead of former Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson, Michael Cooper and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who won 110 playoff games and five NBA titles together between 1980 and 1989.

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