“Where were you when it happened?”
Many Spurs fans ask that when they reminisce about the Spurs first title in June, 1999. As for me, I was in law school in Michigan, at sports bar when the Spurs celebrated in Madison Square Garden beating the NY Knicks in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, 78-77. Your Finals MVP, Tim Duncan. His first of many.
Can you believe it has been 10 years, this month, since the Spurs won thier first title? It was the culmination of 26 years of frustration for Spurs fans. Seeing the Spurs flame out in the playoffs, Robinson not making it to the Finals year after year and of course the 1995 debacle in the Western Conference Finals versus the Rockets.
The 1999 title gave us Spurs fans many lasting memories. Witnessing the Spurs be the last team to win in the L.A. Forum. Their 15-2 playoff record, tying the second-best playoff run in NBA history. Watching the “Twin Towers” of Robinson and Duncan play together, and the Spurs becoming the first ABA team to win an NBA title. Who can forget the “Memorial Day Miracle” with Sean Elliott’s 3 to win Game 2 of the series against the Blazers, after the Spurs practically trailed the entire game.
Of course the moment all Spurs fans across the globe remember most was Avery’s shot going in and then seeing Sprewell try to shoot over Duncan and Robinson which came up short in the last seconds. Game over and we heard former Spurs radio host Jay Howard exclaim “. . . and the pride of the great Lonestar State, the San Antonio Spurs, are your NBA Champions!”
However it didn’t come without critiscism. Phil Jackson’s asterisk comment, the excuse of a shortened season and the excuse of Patrick Ewing not playing still haunt the Spurs until today. I am pretty sure if the Lakers, Knicks, or Blazers had won the title, these comments or excuses would not be magnified.
Still, the 1999 NBA title launched the Spurs into the heights of NBA royalty. They won three more titles in 2005, 2003, and 2007 and became a quiet dynasty. The Spurs 4 titles puts them with the Celtics, Lakers and Bulls. Gregg Popovich became one of the greatest NBA coaches, Tim Duncan a became a household name, David Robinson retired as a champion and the organization became one of the most respected in the league with other teams trying to duplicate their success.
Yes the 1999 title may be 10 years past but the memories still live in the hearts of Spurs fans. Thanks David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Sean Elliott, Avery Johnson, Mario Elie, Jaren Jackson, Antonio Daniels, Steve Kerr, Jerome Kersey, Malik Rose, Gerard King, Brandon Williams, Will Perdue, and Andrew Gaze. Thanks for the memories!