Big Threes are the hot item among NBA team’s ever since LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh came together in the summer of 2010. By now, we know all the story of three straight Finals appearances and two championships by the trio. Before that, the 2007-08 Boston Celtics trio of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce won a championship in their first season together, but it would be their only one. All of that is very impressive until you consider the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs’ Big Three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili passed Showtime era Lakers trio of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper recently for the third-longest run of regular season games together and the 490 wins are just second all-time behind the Celtics duo of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish.
Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have won three championships together as a trio. What makes this even more remarkable is Gregg Popovich is the only coach the Big Three have played for, while the Lakers were coached by Jack McKinney, Paul Westhead and Pat Riley during their run. The Celtics won their titles in that decade being coached by Bill Fitch and K.C. Jones.
In this day and age, big name players like LeBron James can go to Miami to join forces with Wade and Bosh to win championships, Carmelo Anthony can go from Denver to New York and possibly elsewhere this summer to try and win a title. What makes the Spurs Big Three era so great is how they were built and how they have stayed together for 12 seasons.
San Antonio’s front office built a historic trio, starting with Duncan as the No. 1 pick in the 1997 draft. They haven’t missed the playoffs or had a losing season since he put on Silver & Black. Then Parker was brought over followed by Ginobili and the rest is….well history.
While other players leave their respective teams to try and win a championship – Duncan, Parker and Ginobili never seriously considered leaving San Antonio. The Spurs never tried to rebuild or bought into the “let’s get a big-name super-star” trend. They have kept their core intact and built around them.
But the trio will end their run very soon. There is speculation that this could be the last run for Duncan, who will turn 38 in April. Ginobili is 36 and also has one year left on his contract. Parker is just 31 has a year left with only $3.5 million guaranteed.
In life, people take things for granted. Spurs fans and basketball fans alike should stop and reflect on what a stellar run Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili have had. It is one all of us will be telling our kids about when we are older. As of today, the Spurs sit at the top of the NBA with a league-best record of 51-16 and will be making a run at what could be their fourth and final trophy as a trio.
What a great run it is expected to be.