The San Antonio Spurs won their first of four NBA titles in 1999 over the New York Knicks in a lockout-shortened season. That led to ex-NBA coach Phil Jackson claim the Spurs’ title deserved an asterisk since it came in an truncated season. Since then, that label is always mentioned when looking back at the Spurs’ first title and draws the ire of Spurs fans whenever it is thrown in their face.
Fast forward to this season and the Spurs are looking strong, and are on the verge of sweeping the Utah Jazz in their first-round series as their march to a fifth championship continues in another shortened season affected by this summer’s lockout.
And should the Spurs win it all this season, the asterisk talk will more than likely be brought up yet again.
However, the Miami Heat are also looking like a legit champion and could be the final team standing in June and they to might be given the unfortunate label should they win it all.
But in LeBron James’ opinion, a short season doesn’t take away from any title, and says the Spurs’ ’99 title should not be lessened because of the short season.
“I don’t discredit the effort San Antonio had when they won it in ’99 after the lockout,” LeBron said. “We all know Gregg Popovich is an unbelievable coach and Tim Duncan is an unbelievable player. It shouldn’t matter. They won multiple (titles) after that so are we going to say that first one wasn’t good enough? I don’t think that’s true at all.”
What many people forget is that the playoffs in the 1999 truncated season , the playoffs were a normal format. San Antonio had to push through the playoffs like all teams in the playoff field. I am sure the Knicks, Blazers, Heat, Timberwolves and all other teams in the ’99 playoffs would have loved to have taken the title then and scoff at the asterisk label.
Moreover, Spurs fans cannot let Jackson’s barb last forever. I am positive if he had won the NBA title in 1999, he would have glorified it and not discounted it at all.
What do you have to say Spurs fans? Are you still bothered by the whole asterisk talk?