Established in 1967, the San Antonio Spurs is a professional basketball team from San Antonio, Texas. The basketball team competes in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Western Conference Southwest Division. The Spurs hosts their home games at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. The Spurs won a total of five NBA Championships on 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014 which makes the most dominant stretches in NBA history. As of 2019, the San Antonio Spurs have won over 22 division titles since they joined the NBA and they only missed the playoffs four times. As of this writing, the San Antonio Spurs franchise value is worth around 1.6 billion dollars with an operating income of 63 million dollars.
The Spurs are known for doing things the right way and also making the most of a small market budget. It all started with three couple of fateful events.
The drafting of David Robinson made the Spurs legitimate playoff contenders. A man who lived up to his commitments to the Navy even though he might have been able to get out of his two-year commitment after college. When Tim Duncan was drafted and it became clear that he was going to be an all time great power forward, Robinson was willing to take a back seat and let Duncan lead – a truly selfless act for a superstar.
The hiring of Gregg Popovich, and his subsequent hiring of R.C. Bufford who went on to become the team GM, started the Spurs on a path to becoming a dominant franchise beyond just its two main starts. The talent they were able to find and develop such as Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker is what ultimately spurred them onto their multiple NBA titles.
The last major event was the breaking of David Robinson’s foot. When The Admiral out the Spurs poor record along with a little draft luck allowed them to ultimately get Tim Duncan as the number one pick. And the rest as they say is history.
Even with those three key events in Spurs history happening to help bring all the ingredients together for success the glue was the focus on selflessness and team first. None of the big starts left during their prime for better fields and to “be the man” somewhere else. Because of this focus and finding and developing diamonds in the rough, the Spurs multiple championships have a little extra specialness because of the way they did it.
San Antonio Spurs History
The Spurs are San Antonio’s only team in any of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and they are the San Antonio’s only major league team that lasted for more than five years. Most of its team members or players are an active part of the San Antonio community and some of the former members such as David Robinson and George Gervin are still active in San Antonio by being involved with the Carver Academy and George Gervin Youth Center respectively.
The San Antonio Spurs have set a handful of NBA attendance records while playing at the Alamodome such as having the largest crowd ever to attend the NBA Finals game in 1999. And on a regular basis, the Spurs still continue to sell out the AT&T Center.
Spurs’ Franchise History
The San Antonio Spurs was originally called s the Dallas Chaparrals when they joined the original version of the American Basketball Association or ABA. The Dallas Chaparrals were coached by Cliff Hagan and they were one of the eleven teams that took the floor in the inaugural season of the ABA. However, the second season was a bit disappointing for the Dallas Chaparrals because they finished in 4th place with a 41-3 record and in the playoffs, the Chaparrals lost to New Orleans Buccaneers.
From then on, the Chaps suffered from poor attendance and audience disinterest in Dallas. It even reached to the point where during the 1970-71 season, the name Dallas was dropped and it was replaced with Texas with the hopes of making the team a regional one. They played games at Tarrant County Convention Center, Lubbock, and in Fort Worth. But it proved to be a failure and the team went back to the name Dallas for the 1971-72 season in which they split their games at the Dallas Convention Center Arena and Moody Coliseum.
From Dallas to San Antonio
Even if the Chaparrals had been humbly successful on the court, they were struggling financially during their third season and this is because the owners of the team don’t want to spend so much money on the group. After the team missed the playoffs for the first time in the 1972-73 season, almost all the owners of the team wanted out. Until a group of 36 San Antonio businessman who was led by Angelo Drossos, John Schaefer, and Red McCombs. They all worked out a “lend-lease” contract with the Dallas ownership group which states that Drossos and co-businessmen would lease the basketball team for three years and they would move to San Antonio.
After they signed the deal, the team’s name was changed to San Antonio Gunslingers but before they played a game, they decided to change the name once again to Spurs. The name was derived from a spur which is a metal tool that is worn on the heels of cowboy boots to help control a horse’s direction and movement. Aside from their name, the team’s colors were also changed from red, white, and blue to the now white, black, and silver motif of the Spurs.
The Spurs’ mascot has been the Coyote since 1983. This was created and portrayed by Tim Derk for over 21 years. Their mascot is popular for having slapstick humor, rehearsed skits, and dance numbers with the Spurs’ cheerleaders. In 2007, The Cayote was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame.
San Antonio Spurs Most Iconic Players
Manu Ginobili is an Argentine who came from a family of professional basketball players. Ginobili started playing basketball in 1995. Considering the fact that he holds dual citizenship in Italy and Argentina, it enabled him to play on both countries during the early days of his career where he won several team and individual honors such as a EuroLeague Finals MVP and two Italian League MVP. In the 1999 NBA draft, Manu Ginobili was selected as the 57th overall pick. And in 2002, Ginobili proved that he is the greatest steal for the NBA and especially the San Antonio Spurs where he quickly became a key player. He was by far the greatest achievement of Spurs’ general manager, R.C Buford. He discovered Manu Ginobili and convinced the Spurs to draft him in the 1999 draft. But it wasn’t until 2002 when Ginobili decided to join the team and he became the key in the team’s championship run. During his NBA rookie year, Ginobili was injury-ridden but still, he managed to make the All-Rookie second team. During the team’s playoff run against the defending champions Lakers and Suns, Manu took his opponents by surprise with his exceptional scoring ability in which they found tough to keep up and defend all the players.
William Anthony Parker or popularly known as Tony Parker is a French-American professional basketball player. He was the son on a professional basketball player and he started his career playing in the French basketball league before deciding to enter the NBA draft in 2001. He was the 28th overall pick in the draft by the San Antonio Spurs and he quickly became their starting point guard. Parker is probably one of the biggest stars in the Spurs franchise history but, his skill is underrated and definitely underappreciated. Parker’s skill was appreciated by the basketball analysts but to the fans and audience, Parker only played in the shadows of Popovich and Duncan. Despite this, Tony Parker was able to be the team’s premier playmaker and ball handler for over four championships during the Spurs era. Parker was a threat on the defensive end and because of that, it won him the Finals MVP in 2007 over Duncan.
George Gervin or also known as “The Iceman” is a retired professional basketball player who played in the American Basketball Association and the NBA for Chicago Bulls, Virginia Squires, and San Antonio Spurs. He was drafted in the third round as the 40th pick by the Suns but at that time, the Spurs’ franchise was in the ABA and George Gervin did not want to leave so he decided to continue his basketball career with the Spurs. Gervin was a vital part of the San Antonio Spurs because he gave multiple winning honors to the team and led them to playoffs every season. He was called as “The Iceman” because he keeps a chill and calm character while he’s on the court and he does not like to show that much of emotion whenever he’s playing the game. After Gervin decided to retire from professional basketball, he has been active in the San Antonio community where he designed organizations for underprivileged children. He also founded the George Gervin Youth Center in 1991.
David Robinson was a professional basketball player who played center for San Antonio Spurs throughout his entire career. After David Robinson’s father retired from the Navy, he and his family decided to settle in Woodbridge, Virginia where David Robinson excelled in school and in every sport except basketball. When he was in junior high, Robinson tried his luck in basketball, but he eventually decided to quit. When he was in his senior year, Robinson measured about six feet and six inches tall but he had not attended any basketball camps nor played organized basketball. When the basketball coach decided to add him to the school’s basketball team, Robinson started to earn all-area and all-district honors but despite that, he did not catch the attention of any college basketball coaches. That’s why he decided to go to the United States Naval Academy where he played for the Navy Midshipmen men’s basketball team. That’s the reason why David Robinson was also called as “The Admiral” when he played at the NBA.
Robinson was one of the greatest basketball players that were drafted and trained by the San Antonio Spurs. Before Tim Duncan joined the team, Popovich created a tandem around Avery Johnson and David Robinson as the team went to the playoffs in 1991-1996. One of Robinson’s agenda was to beat out his opponent Hakeem Olajuwon but sadly, he lost out to him. Robinson is also called the Twin Tower because he had amazing defensive skills that can match eight All-NBA Defensive teams and in 1992, he became Defensive Player of the Year.
Timothy Theodore Duncan or Tim Duncan was a professional basketball player who began playing basketball when he was in ninth grade where he played for Dunstan’s Episcopal High School. When Duncan was in college, he played for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons where he won the USBWA College Player of the Year and the Naismith College Player of the Year. After Duncan graduated in college, he earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors after he was selected by the San Antonio Spurs as the first overall pick during the 1997 NBA draft. Tim Duncan is considered by many to be the best power forward of all time. He is a five-time NBA Champion and three-time Finals Most Valuable Player. Duncan had the reputation to all NBA fans, in fact even players and analysts because they said that he never misused his popularity and stardom. Plus, he let his team to one of the greatest playoff runs.
After Tim Duncan retired from being a professional basketball player, he established the Tim Duncan Foundation which serves education, recreation, youth sports, and health awareness and research in San Antonio, the United States Virgin Islands, and Winston-Salem.
Greg Popovich is a professional basketball coach. After Popovich graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1970, he became a member of the coaching staff of the U.S Air Force Academy then he became the head coach of Pomona-Pitzer’s men’s basketball team. After that, he briefly became the assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors in 1992. In 1994, he returned to San Antonio and became the Spurs’ general manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations. In 1996, Popovich took over as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs. Since then he has been the coach of the San Antonio Spurs making him the longest-tenured active coach in the NBA and in all major sports leagues in the United States. Popovich, or also known as “Coach Pop” has led them to the playoffs for 22 seasons straight and he also has the most wins in NBA history, surpassing Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkens.
San Antonio Spurs have won 5 championships and they also grabbed the fifth spot in the list of the NBA teams that have won at least one NBA championship.
1999 NBA Finals – The San Antonio Spurs won the series 4 games to 1 and their forward, Tim Duncan was named as the Most Valuable Player of the finals. During the Finals’ game five, Avery Johnson won scored the game-winner with 47 seconds to go. His shot was followed by a miss by Sprewell that would have sent the series back to the Spurs. This is the first of five championships that San Antonio Spurs have won.
2003 NBA Finals – the 2003 playoffs started a bit shaky for the San Antonio Spurs because they lost game one of the first-round series against the Phoenix Suns. But, the Spurs was able to bounce back and take the series in 6 games. They were able to make it into the Finals where they went against the New Jersey Nets. They won the finals with 4 games to 2 and Tim Duncan was once again named as the Most Valuable Player of the Finals.
2005 NBA Finals – The San Antonio Spurs played against NBA defending champion and Eastern Conference Champion, Detroit Piston in the 2005 NBA Finals. The Spurs won this series with four games to three with homecourt advantage. For the third time, Tim Duncan was once again named as the Most Valuable Player of the Year.
2007 NBA Finals – This best-of-seven- series was played between San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers. This was the Spurs’ fourth trip to the NBA finals and the Cavaliers’ first. The Spurs swept the game scoring 4 games to 0. This time, Tony Parker was hailed as the series’ MVP.
2014 NBA Finals – San Antonio Spurs defeated the Miami Heat in five games with 4 games to 1. This is the Spurs’ fifth championship in NBA’s history and this was also the time where they outscored the Heat by 14.0, the largest average point differential in Finals history. Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs was hailed as the MVP of this series.