The Spurs have brought us Spurs fans countless memories throughout their existence and currently we share them at the AT&T Center. But some of the best memories came from the Spurs old residences at the Hemisfair Arena and the Alamodome. Let’s take a trip back in time and remember some of those great memories of old in the Hemisfair Arena, the Alamodome and now in the AT&T Center.
Today we look back and remember the place where it all started.
Hemisfair Arena (1973-1993)
This was the first home for the Spurs when they moved from Dallas as the Chapparrales and were renamed the Spurs. It was originally was constructed for the 1968 World’s Fair held in San Antonio. It also used hold only 10, 146 seats but was renovated to add a second tier expanding its capacity to 16, 000. Because of the renovations, huge columns stretched from the roof to the seats. This created the “obstructed view” seats where fans would literally sit behind a column and would have to lean over or rely on the screen hanging above the court to view the action. It would also host NBA Draft parties where fans could enjoy watching the draft and be there when the Spurs made their selections. Some great, David Robinson, Sean Elliott. Some not so great, Alfrederick Huges, Dwayne Schnitizus. It would also be the birth place of those horrendous “Fiesta” team colors.
The first ever Spurs game in the Hemisfair was against the San Diego Conquistadors where they lost 121-106. Attendance for that game: 5, 879. Also it hosted the 1975 ABA All-Star game.
The Hemisfair was quite small and intimate. Most seats were cushioned and the crowd was so loud, it was even hard to hear yourself. Because of this, it was considered one of the loudest arenas in the NBA during its time. Adding to the noise were the “Baseline Bums.” Just a bunch of die-hard Spurs fans getting rowdy, drunk and endlessly tauting the opposing team. They were known to spill beer on opposing players and retaliate against them. In a 1976 game at the Hemisfair, Nuggets coach Larry Brown yelled at Gervin on the court and accused the Spurs of being a “dirty team.” Former Spurs coach Bob Bass told Brown to shut-up and offered to fight him while the game was going on. After the game Brown said he didn’t like anything about San Antonio and the only thing he liked was the guacamole salad. The next game against the Nuggets, the Baseline Bums threw avacados on the floor and poured guacamole salad on Nuggets players. Also this happened when the promotion for the game was “Dime Beer Night.”
It gave us the “Bruise Brothers”, James “Captain Late” Silas, and of course the “Iceman,” George Gervin. It was also home to the beginning of the David Robinson era.
The last Spurs game ever held in the Hemisfair was May 20 1993 against the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Semi-Finals when Charles Barkley hit a shot over David Robinson in the final seconds to win the game. It was demolished in June 1995.
Top 5 best memories from the Hemisfair:
5. Dancing Harry, The Baseline Bums and their antics
4. Obstructed View Seats and “Dime Beer Nights”
3. Spurs merging with the NBA in 1976
2. The ABA and The Iceman era
1. Beginning of the David Robinson Era
Please leave us a comment with your memories of Hemisfair and come back soon to Project Spurs as we will next revisit the Alamodome in part two of “Home Sweet Home.”