SAN ANTONIO—Speaking to reporters after announcing his retirement from professional basketball, Spurs power forward Tim Duncan proudly reflected on all of the academic degrees he accumulated during his 19 years in the NBA. “You know, all of my diplomas are special to me, but my Ph.D. in marine chemistry from MIT will probably always mean the most,” said Duncan, adding that successfully defending his dissertation before the program’s faculty board in 2008 was one of the personal highlights of a career that also saw him complete graduate degrees in electrical engineering, European history, and Latin from Northwestern, UCLA, and Boston College, respectively. “My first Master of Science degree in 1998 definitely seemed like the hardest one to earn, although I think finishing two more [in sociology and statistics] during back-to-back years was pretty tough too. Of course, finally standing on the graduation stage last May to accept my joint JD-MBA from the University of Texas is also something I’ll never forget.” Duncan added that none of his accomplishments would have been possible without the support of his family and faculty advisors.