Spurs belong with all-time elites


VIDEO: Tim Duncan on the court after winning his fifth championship in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – If you ask the San Antonio Spurs about the greatest sports dynasty of our time, they’ll probably caution you not to rush to judgment.

After all, they might not be finished.

When the Spurs put the finishing touches on the destruction of the Miami Heat on Sunday, with one last whipping in Game 5 of The NBA Finals, maybe the only thing more impressive than their sheer dominance of the two-time defending champion was the simple fact that the Spurs, inexorably, keep on winning.

Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs’ taciturn forward who was named The Finals MVP, was only 7 years old when his teammate Tim Duncan raised the same trophy over his head in 1999, when the Spurs won their first title by beating the New York Knicks. Through the interim, the Los Angeles Lakers have risen and fallen and risen and fallen again, and now lie in a ditch so deep they might need more than a long rope to climb out. The Boston Celtics resurrected their past glory for a few shining seasons but have now fallen on hard times. The would-be contenders, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies, have changed cities and, in one case, changed names.

The Spurs have changed, too, from a deliberate, rugged team built on a foundation of tough, unyielding defensive chops to a work of offensive artistry that emphasizes quickness, ball movement and 3-point shooting.

What’s stayed the same is an organizational philosophy that promotes professionalism, selflessness and sacrifice. It is those core beliefs, and the way they have been carried out over so many years, that have produced the five championships that solidify San Antonio’s case as one of North America’s greatest sports dynasties ever.

When asked by ESPN’s Stuart Scott the biggest difference between the two titles, 15 years apart, Duncan gave the simplest and most accurate answer: “Fifteen years, probably?”

A coach, a player

No other player-coach/manager combination, outside of Duncan and Gregg Popovich, has climbed twin peaks of excellence over such an extended period. The New York Yankees have long been the American measuring stick of sports royalty with their 27 World Series titles. Only they have had a sustained era of excellence that lasted for 1 1/2 decades (1923-38), that under two managers, Miller Huggins and Joe McCarthy.

Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan (Andrew D Bernstein/NBAE)

Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan celebrate the 2014 title.
(Andrew D Bernstein/NBAE)

But the leagues were much smaller then and so they — along with the achievements of George Mikan’s Minneapolis Lakers and Bill Russell’s Celtics — must be viewed as something different, something encased in Jurassic amber.

In the so-called modern era of the last 30 years, the Yankees won four titles in five years (1996-2000). The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers won five Super Bowls (1982 to 1995), but with a change of coaches and different star quarterbacks. The New York Islanders captured the Stanley Cup four straight times (1980-83).

The NBA’s only real challengers of the past three decades are the Showtime Lakers, who won five championships and played in nine Finals from 1980 to 1991, Michael Jordan’s Bulls with their pair of “three-peats” (1991-93 and 1996-98) and the Lakers with their five titles of the Kobe Bryant Era — though they must be split into separate entities, with and without Shaquille O’Neal.

It seems only Phil Jackson, who coached those Bulls and then the Lakers, questions the Spurs’ pedigree as a dynasty because they have never won back-to-back.

Still, Merriam-Webster defines a dynasty as “a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a long time.”

“I consider the question irrelevant because it’s somebody else’s term for greatness,” former NBA coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy told the San Antonio Express-News. “You could put whatever word on it you want as long as it speaks to their greatness. Sustained greatness is the hardest thing to achieve in any walk of life. And that’s exactly what the Spurs have stood for.”

Sustaining the greatness

Since Duncan arrived in San Antonio in 1997, the Spurs have won 1,099 of 1,585 games (regular season and playoffs combined), a stunning 69.3 winning percentage. While the Lakers, Pistons and Celtics have blazed across the sky to win championships in that span, none even made the playoffs this season. The Spurs have reached the playoffs 17 consecutive years in the Duncan Era, been in The NBA Finals six times, the Western Conference finals nine times and are currently working on an record string of 15 straight seasons winning at least 50 games. They even won 50 it in the lockout-shortened 2010-11 season when the schedule was cut to 66 games.

Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE)

Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan have won four NBA titles together.
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE)

Hall of Famer David Robinson retired as Duncan’s partner after the Spurs’ 2003 championship, but Manu Ginobili arrived to join Tony Parker and Duncan, forming the three-headed monster that has now grabbed the Larry O’Brien Trophy four times together.

The stretch between their last championship in 2007 and this one was marked with the frustration of a first-round loss to Memphis in 2011 and the torment of 2013, when they let the title slip from their grasp in the final 28 seconds of Game 6.

“There were times that people said we should be breaking it up,” said general manager R.C. Buford, named 2014 Executive of the Year. “But what’s the alternative? Our best alternative was to keep the group together.”

The Spurs have able to sustain their dynasty because of the bond that formed between Duncan, Parker and Ginobili, who have stuck together in this free-agent era of team-hopping for an unheard-of 12 seasons, during which they have won more playoff games than any other playoff trio in league history. They are happy with San Antonio, with each other and with themselves. Each of the three could have taken a big payday elsewhere. Yet they choose to remain yoked together and driven by Popovich, named Coach of the Year for a third time in 2014.

“We took less money to stay here to win championships,” Parker said. “So it makes it even better to have been able to play my whole career with Timmy and Manu.”

The Spurs got back to the top by pulling off a brilliant 2011 draft night deal that brought in Leonard; by adding the wonderfully diverse talents of Boris Diaw; by leaning on Tiago Splitter’s fierceness inside, Patty Mills’ ebullience and by giving Danny Green three different opportunities to stick and eventually to thrive.

The best ever

But maybe the Spurs’ most notable achievement is that they have tripped but never fallen to their knees. Popovich revamped their offense and changed their style of play, but the level of expectation never dropped. The Spurs play every season to win it all. Every season, for the last 17, they’ve had a chance.

“I think what we’ve accomplished hasn’t been seen by many other teams,” Ginobili said. “Having a group of three players and a coach for more than a decade and winning [five] championships and making it to the Finals [once more].

“I don’t know what the word dynasty exactly means, but I know that we’ve accomplished a lot of things and we’ve won a lot of games together. We’ve won many playoff games and that’s pretty unique.”

The 2014 is the best Spurs team of the dynasty. Jordan’s Bulls never had to run the gantlet that the Spurs had to survive in the Western Conference, beating the 49-win Dallas Mavericks in the first round, the surging Portland Trail Blazers in the semifinals and the formidable Thunder in the conference finals. And for their latest crowning act, the Spurs took a page from the book of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Lakers, when they battled Larry Bird’s Celtics, and claimed the championship by simply seizing it.

LeBron James , the de facto best player in the game, and his Heat were the two-time defending champs. They won 54 games, shoved aside the Eastern Conference contenders in the playoffs — and the Spurs crushed them like an empty beer can in The Finals, beating them by an average of 18 points in the four wins. The Spurs claimed 12 of their 16 playoff wins by 15 points or more, a record for sheer dominance.

“With the front office putting the teams together that we’ve had, and our roles changing over the years, I feel we can do it until we don’t want to do it anymore,” said Duncan. “As long as we feel we’re being effective, we’re going to stay out here and we’re going to play.”

So hold off on the final judgment. Chances are, the Spurs aren’t done.


VIDEO: Relive the Spurs’ victory in Game 5 that clinched their fifth NBA title

88 Comments

  1. Rey W says:

    Lakers won 5 in 7 finals from 2000-2010, Spur won 5 from 1999 – 2014, yes Spurs have been more consistent over the years, but Lakers have been more dominant, it is always about the rings, The true dynasties count rings not playoff appearances,,,, see Atlanta, and winning consecutively extra points.

  2. dave says:

    Great team they definately have earn my respect play straight up clean basketball they never give a team a slick talk to motive them spurs just keep thier mouth close and just play basketball i take my hat off to them congrulations to hope they do it again they my kinda people just play fair basketball nothing dirty

  3. Romeo says:

    Indubitably the Spurs are a DYNASTY. 5 rings and 14 seasons with 50+wins; 2nd all time in wins as a trio’ first all time in wins as a trio…winning a championship in 3 decades. 60′s Celtics don’t count, going up against mediocre teams is not what i would consider “contending.” The term “dynasty” means a family, team, etc., that is very powerful or successful for a long period of time. If the Spurs don’t define that then who does? They define EXACTLY that. Someone block these trolls before they contextualize something stupid again.

  4. lacrampa says:

    when pop retires i think i will cry

  5. AL Sancho says:

    If this team is not a dynasty then dynasties no longer exist in the NBA. They may never have won back to back titles but to stay at the very top of the NBA for a decade and a half and still going strong is unprecedented. To call a team “Elite” does not take into account how long they’ve maintained their top-tier position. A dynasty on the other hand implies a timeframe in which they were performing at their peak.

  6. JM says:

    C’mon, Fran and friends. The Spurs is a great team, a elite team for sure.

    But “dynasty” is about “throne”, not about “excellence”. Not even just about back-to-back titles.

    “A powerful group or family that maintains its position for a long time” (at the throne, of course).

    • John says:

      Good point, JM. Only 2 teams are real dynasties, the Celtics of the 60′s and the Bulls of the 90′s. Note that, in the case of Bulls, the king declined the throne, then regain it. But the Spurs are a real elite team, like the Lakers and my Celtics of the 80′s.

  7. Not taking anything away. Just wanted to know why THE LAKERS 5 titles have to be split ( SHAQ AND NO SHAQ ) .. Wat about with The admiral David Robinson and w/o ??? There is NO SPLIT.. 5 is 5.. they have 5 in 15.. so do the lakers in less than 15..

  8. Hugh says:

    As for choking they totally redeemed themselves and their consistency and 5 titles mean they’re definitely an ELITE team! However,I do not think that they could beat the 96-98 Bulls teams. I have never watched a team that could totally turn it up defensively like that team with MJ,Pipp and Rod..all three were long,athletic and strong able to defend on the wing as well as in the post. The only team I think that could give the Bulls a thorough test would be the Kobe/Shaq 3 peat Laker team. That would be an interesting series for sure! Still,take nothing from these Spurs,they are an elite team that has a record unmatched when it comes to constantly being a top contender/champion for over 17 years!! Congrats to the Spurs and their fans,they deserve all the recognition they are getting. I am not a Spurs fan,more of a Kobe fan,however,no way you can look at the Spurs and not see the beauty in their game. Every player that touches a basketball should be forced to watch the Finals this season…truly how the game is meant to be played.

  9. The Voice Of Reason says:

    Yo Flan, great article, the Spurs do indeed deserve to be called a dynasty, but PLEASE don’t write garbage like “Jordan’s Bulls never had to run the gauntlet”. You mean to say that throughout the times Jordan got to the finals, the gauntlet never included facing Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks, followed by Reggie Miller and the Pacers not mention also facing the Bad Boy Pistons early in the 90′s…oh and while were are at it, let’s just throw in Shaq/Penny Hardaway and the Magic (there’s more but for time’s sake that will do). Oh sorry…I forgot that at the end of all that, he faced Magic and the Lakers, Clyde Drexler’s Trailblazers, Gary Payton/Shawn Kemp Sonics, Sir Charles Barkley’s Suns and The Mail Man and John Stockton’s Jazz …twice!

    Give credit where credit is due Fran – the Spurs are unreal to watch and had a hard run to the finals both this year and last year but don’t try and take away from Jordan’s and the Bulls dynasty to add to theirs…

  10. eMars says:

    This ALL_TIME ELITE team has on its record the ALL-TIME CHOKE in NBA history; NO REDEMPTION ALLOWED in NBA lore. GO SPURS ‘sputter’ ‘gasp’ ‘choke’ GO.

    • MR210 says:

      Spurs choked last year in the Finals.
      Heat choked this year in the Finals.

      Tell the NBA to make this matchup happen a third time – settle it once and for all.

  11. eMars says:

    Except for that monumental CHOKE in 2013; which everyone seems so willing to forget or consider avenged and erased from the record books! Gentlepeople, it doesn’t work that way. The 2014 dominance of the league by the Spurs only highlights the enormity of that CHOKE as the second largest in sports history (the first being the Yankees, up 3-0 against the Red Sox only to lose in seven). I’m being generous here because the Yankees Choke was not for a Championship. The Spurs choke is the closest a team has come to winning a championship, only to have it snatched from them, in sports history. Those twenty-eight seconds with a five point lead will forever be a part of Spurs lore and a gigantic blemish on their otherwise sparkling record. Redemption is not part of NBA records. 5-1 in NBA championships does not equal the flawless, no-CHOKE 6-0 mark put up by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in eight years. That mark ranks the Bulls as the only team with more than one Finals appearance that has a PERFECT record. Nice try at putting the Spurs on an elite pedestal but this 2014 Championship only makes the Spurs 1-1 versus the Heat in NBA Finals victories. Had they not CHOKED in 2013 they would indeed by an elite team.

  12. BRYAN AKA DEEBO says:

    Spurs are one of the all-time great franchises of the NBA. 16 straight 50-win seasons, 4 of those for 60 or more. Not even the Celts or the Lakers have matched this feat. 5 NBA titles. The Big 3 of Duncan, Ginobili & Parker all acquired thru the draft with Tim #1, Parker #28 & Ginobili #57. These 3 could’ve had HUGE paydays if they’d gone anywhere else but they chose to stay, take lesser $$$ & build a team around themselves like Jordan did. Ppl forget Jordan only made huge $$ his last couple of years in CHI.

  13. Ray says:

    Allan holloway I agree with most of your comment , but the nba is way water downed compared to 80 s and 90 s, that’s why I don’t like comparing 2014 spurs to the. 90 s bulls , the league was way way more competitive back then , also those bulls teams were built not bought either

  14. kobeballhog says:

    These so called know everything saying people who dont consider spurs a dynasty doesnt know anything about the nba. I say this back those who says spurs should be a dynasty are all hogwash with zero knowledge of the nba. A dynasty is conquering everything in its path. You can win championships in different eras but can you be dominant in one era? That is a sign of an amazing feat. Dominating one era just like what the boston and bulls did. Additionally stop this hogwash about spurs being built and not bought. No nba player plays freely even duncan ginobli or parker these guys still getting payed millions of dollars. Would they stay in spurs for free? Everyone is bought in the nba. The heats big 3 sacrificed millions to play together same goes to bostons big 3. All teams are bought. Try underpaying boris kahwi and so on would they stay in spurs?

    • MR210 says:

      Spurs were BUILT.
      Heat are a bunch of hired guns – starts with the main guy.
      Main pieces of Spurs were thru draft or trade. That is what is “built” about the Spurs.

      Heat had three top guys in the NBA join forces – sure they took a slight pay cut…but not nearly as much as Timmy and Manu and Parker have chose not to take “max deals”…they knew it would hurt the team and they would not remain competitive.

      When LBJ/Wade/Bosh decide to take about on average $10 million each (similar to Spurs Big Three salary)…come back and talk…

      Spurs winning 50+ games and making playoffs is not considered a dynasty? You my friend are skewed in your thinking…
      Just because you don’t win championship after championship doesn’t disqualify you as a “dynasty”.
      Guess it depends on personal opinion….but most would say the Tim Duncan Spurs are a dynasty. Same Big Three for 12 years, same coach, same GM…if that is not a Dynasty – I don’t know what is!

  15. 76er says:

    go 76ers we are greatest of all time!!

  16. Alan Hollway says:

    The old age question of what defines a dynasty will continue to plague the Spurs, but never the less lets look at the facts. The Spurs have outlasted every other francishe for continued excellence over a period spanning more years than any other team except the Boston Celitics in the 50′s and 60′s. Some coaches like Phil Jackson have always had it in for the Spurs because they do it differently on a small city market without buying their teams in. The Spurs have the patience to sit by a winning formula. Sustained excedllence is what it is called. So what defines a dynasty – obviously multiple nba titles is the main route but the other is sustained excellence with one team and one coach. The other thing is this, you cannot compare past teams or a dynasty with current teams. This Spurs team of 2014 is the best team I have seen in 25 years, make no mistake about that, they would have beaten previous Spurs winning teams but also yes also the Bulls. The bulls won their titles against relatively weak opposition, the bulls had the best player in the world just like the heat does now with James but it wasn’t enough to beat the supurb team play of one of the best teams ever. Just to come back from last year when they lost to the heat is stuff documentaries are made of. It is clear that the Celtics of the 50′s and 60′s and again in the 80′s, the showtime Lakers and the Lakers of 200-2002 and of course the bulls were all dynasties as to is San Antonio its just that the spurs as a dynasty spreads over a longer period.The spurs have rebuilt, remodelled, readjusted over time and periods and now are par excellence they have reached their highest peak but still may yet win a repeat if not it doesn’t take anything off them. The fact that they have come back from such emotional losses in 2004, 2006, 2012 and 2013 is testament to their greatness. As an individual winner the Spurs of 2014 is the stand out team by far but as dynasty’s go, they may be behind the lakers, celtics and bulls but not by far.

  17. donovan says:

    Those who do not acknowledge that the Spurs are a dynasty and have achieved certain feats not achieved by others fall in at least one of the following: 1) They have little knowledge of NBA history and detailed NBA statistics; 2) Their ‘operational definition’ of a dynasty differs; 3) They are selfish and don’t want to share the term ‘dynasty’ which probably their beloved teams possess; or 4) they just lost their 3-peat bid from the Spurs and are bitter to give the name dynasty away to the Spurs. Ok,.. Spurs are the 2014 champions and obtained it with a big bang! Where are your rich/highly funded teams. Here’s the poor Spurs, 2014 champions!

    • MR210 says:

      Maybe we need to redefine the word “Dynasty” in today’s basketball.
      Spurs would be the perfect example. Tim Duncan had success early in his career – followed by a dry spell – and now is back on top in the twilight of his career.

      Sure, they didn’t win back-to-back…or did a three-peat.

      It’s harder now. Guys want to get paid, instead of taking paycuts like Spurs Big Three. Do you realize Spurs Big Three average a little over $10 Million. Miami’s Big Three is double that.

      What if MJ hadn’t three-peated twice…but instead won every other year – would we knock MJ for not being able to win back-to-back or three-peat? They were fortunate to have stayed healthy.

      Spurs have had their years where Timmy was hurt and unavailable for playoffs, Manu was hurt and was unavailable, Tony Parker was hurt and not 100%, but still played thru injury…

      Not many teams can have the sustained excellence of winning 50+ games for over a decade and making playoffs every year in Timmy’s career.

      If it comes to being able to win two in a row and nothing else…or three-peat and nothing else – some would be ok with that.
      I think a lot would want the long term success and be considered a contender every year for 12+ years with several championships sprinkled in…

  18. kobeballhog says:

    What a joke. Yeah spurs is a great team but all time elite or even a dynasty? Comeon this spurs team doesnt even have a consecutive championship on its resume, dynasty or all time great are the ones like the celtics or the bulls. Spurs is just one of these gret teams. Miami aint a dynasty as well. Unless they get more championships. How can you be called one of all time best they cant even string 2 in a row? Meaning they got lucky with 1 and couldnt even follow with another one.

    • GREGORY INGRAM says:

      Young man we older people have a saying and it goes like this, “At the end of the day” what has been done and what needs to be done, at the end of the day if it has been done then its a good day of work!

      v/r

      Greg

    • Kalbo!! says:

      basing dynasty on consecutive championships alone is purely shallow understanding and blindness of what these once in a lifetime organization has achieved over the last 17 years. Just ignore this kid.

  19. Kevin says:

    Hello, I have been a Spurs fan for 25 years and what is truly great to me is the example set by the players, Coach Pop and the entire organization. They have demonstrated what it really means to strive for excellence while remaining humble in the process. They are a shining example to the young people of this country. The selfishness and me attitudes displayed by most of our athletes, actors, musicians, rappers, leaders, etc. is exhausting. As far as basketball is concerned the past 30 years have produced some amazing talent and their abilities on the court are incredible (Magic, Bird, Jordan, Bryant, etc.). Spurs players are not only good at basketball but even more so at being great human beings. It is inspiring to see the example they set and have been setting for a long time even before Duncan (David Robinson comes to mind). I think there are others in the league like Kevin Durant who realize it is not all about them. His MVP acceptance speech was an example of what people need to hear. People like this do not trash talk, play dirty, make excuses, etc. They simply work hard and give everything they have. It is something for our youth to emulate. SO GO SPURS…….. and congratulations!!!!

  20. Rod says:

    Ok,

    Spurs belong with the elite, but they don’t belong with the top elite. Their 5 championships weren’t as impressive as the Laker’s 5 championships (3 peat, 4 final appearances in 5 years (00-04) & back to back with 3 straight finals appearances (08-10). When was the last time the Spurs won back to back championships? They usually won when the Lakers had a down year. The top dynasty Teams are the Celtics (60s & 80s), Lakers (early 50s, 80s, 00s), Bulls (90s), THEN Spurs followed by the Pistons (80s). And lets not take anything away from the Heat. 4 straight finals appearances (something the Spurs never have done) with winning two of the 4. People act as if the Heat won’t reload and be back next year. If the Heat keep this core team together they’ll have 5 championships a lot sooner than the Spurs and that’s a fact. And this is coming from an avid Laker fan. The Heat will be back, I don’t see Lebron going anywhere. Bosh will become the reliable second option and they’re going to upgrade their PG positions as well as their bench. In the East I don’t see virtually any team stopping the Heat. In the West, I see two teams that are going to give the Spurs fits next years: the Los Angeles Clippers and the OKC Thunder.

    • patty says:

      yeah…laker fan, heat fan…what’s the difference? =)

    • MR210 says:

      Switch the Spurs and Heat in the past 4 years – Spurs win all four championships.
      They would lie in wait while the West beats each other up.
      Heat make it out of the west 1 or two times…

  21. Shane says:

    Man….im from St. Lucia in the caribbean and I Spurs #1 FAN!!! I LOVE YOU SPURS!!! WE DID IT!!!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSS. I GOT SO MANY JOKES LAST YR BUT THE HEATS CHEATED IN GAME 6. N THIS YR IS REDEMPTION, WE PROVED THAT SPURS IS THE BEST TEAM IN THE NBA. REAL TEAM BASKETBALL, NOT JUST AN ENTIRE TEAM WORKING AROUND ONE “STAR BOY’. EVERYBODY PLAYS THEIR PART AND WE DID IT!! CONGRATS TO MY BOYS

  22. Jim says:

    I was disappointed with Lebron in one of the videos for the start of game 5 where the Heat team members were in a huddle and James said “follow my lead”. James recognizes this is a team game and yet he still tries to shoulder everything on himself. It is very difficult for one or a few stars to should the entire load of the team. As shown by the Spurs, some of their role players are far more productive and effective playing as team than their names might otherwise suggest when playing individually.

  23. SELLVA says:

    it is their best (pest) defense especially by leonard on James who can score less than 25 in gm 3;4 and 5. contribution from other players have dried up

  24. Teri says:

    Congratulations Spurs !!! You deserved it, cause you play hard. SA Spurs are humble players that’s why I love these team, Tim Duncan, I’ve been a fun of yours since your day one in Spurs. I am from CA, but I am a Spurs fan !!!

  25. LA fan says:

    Congraz to San Antonio Spurs, great year, and well deserved champion!!!
    Now, I hope all the ban wagon heat fans could finally shut up!

  26. prahumac says:

    we are the one the spurs go spurs go!!!!!!!

  27. okcDoke2014 says:

    Spurs are amazing, besides Mavericks, they blew out every team

  28. Ryan says:

    Please do not forget, in some years Spurs didn’t won Championship because of Tim Duncan was injured. Otherwise I do think they can win one more.

    • True Spurs Fan in LA says:

      All this talk about what is and whether this is a dynasty is just that, Talk.

      Example: 94-95 Rockets and 88-89 Pistons 08-10 Celtics not really dynasty.

      80′s Celtics/Lakers , 90′s Bulls [2000's Lakers/Spurs] 10-13 Heat these are more acceptable.

      If the jazz had won at least two during Stockton Malone era, i would probably give them credit too.
      2 consecutive finals appearances and then falling off the earth is not a dynasty. Sustained greatness of AT LEAST 3-4 years(not necessarily winning it all every time) should be enough for us.

      We also forget the close calls the Spurs had to additional titles during this time.

      1999 Champs
      2000-2002: no one was beating “Shaq”s Lakers. (2001 West finals at least)
      2003 Champs
      2004 West Finals: Derek Fisher .4 Would have been favored against Pistons in Finals
      2005 Champs
      2006 Lost to Dallas who went to the finals, though lost to the Heat.
      2007 Champs
      2008 West Finals: Lose to eventual champs, Lakers… (5 Conference finals in 6 years at this point) also 6 of last 8.

      2009-2011: Lose in lower rounds of playoffs

      2012 West Finals: lose to thunder but had been riding a 20 game win streak into that series including 10 straight in playoffs
      2013 Finals: 30 seconds away
      2014 Champs

      People forget how good they were in 2012 before running out of gas in their current system, new at the time.
      Heading into OKC for game 3, they were considered the favorite to win it. That one hurt almost as much as last year.

      I believe 2004, 2012 and 2013 were all Real missed opportunities. *could have had 8 rings by now =(
      Final Tally, 5 Rings, 6 Finals Appearances, 4 additional West Finals.

      • Denholm says:

        just have to correct you bud, 2008 the celtics were the champs not the lakers… very important that distinction

  29. The Truth says:

    I’d like to say that I am a huge Phil Jackson fan, but his questioning of the Spurs’ dynasty also points to the fact he is flawed like any other human being, even though he is the Zen master… He’s always had smack to talk when it comes to the Spurs. Like Jordan with Lebron, he probably feels a little threatened by Popovich and these Spurs (his legacy, I mean). Reason is, the Spurs do it their own unique way – not better necessarily, just different. The San Antonio Spurs are a dynasty. They define a dynasty. It’s real. Appreciate that. Five titles. Six Finals appearances. Nine Western Conference Finals. Made it out of the first round 14 times. It’s really 17-straight 50+ win seasons (yes, I’m counting ’99, where only fifty games were played – their winning percentage was on pace for 60 wins). Okay. Enough said. SPURS = DYNASTY. NO DOUBT.

  30. iamironman says:

    Getting sick with the bandwagon comments. I wonder how many of the people here are true Spurs fans. Anyway, I must say I’m disgusted at the ‘fans’ at AAA who left early in games 3 & 4. I’m a Heat fan and I’ve even watched replays of games 3-5 and I’m really disappointed with the crowd at AAA. As a true fan of the game, you should support your team even when they lose. That’s why I actually envied OKC because after they lost at home in Game 6 against the Spurs, they were still cheering as if they’ve won the series. This pains me as a fan of not only the Heat but basketball itself.

    • donovan says:

      What is your basis that some comments re bandwagon comments. First, I have been a Spurs fan since the 1990s. For some here appreciating the Spurs who may not be Spurs fans, the Spurs deserve it. I mean, fan or non-fan, what else can you say about the Spurs who have stunned us all with their great basketball. OK?!

  31. Celtics fan says:

    Spurs and Lakers have won the last 10 championships in the last 16 years. so i would say this is a joint Kobe-Duncan Dynasty

  32. imisswatchingthethunder says:

    Okay, give them a dynasty, they are a dynasty, crown them the champions. This is day 3 of Spurs media blasts. Quite frankly I’m officially tired of all about the Spurs. Can we move on to the next thing? Like the free agents or the draft?

  33. SpursFanGOSPURSGO says:

    One of the Best and most Professional NBA Team in the league. I am so Proud of the Spurs and Coach Popovich and look forward to seeing all of them in the NBA Finals next year. They make basketball Beautiful and enjoyable to watch.
    GO SPURS GO!!!

  34. donovan says:

    I just would like to add that the Spurs’ achievements and excellence can be considered unparalleled in NBA history because they operated within one of the lowest budgets in NBA. I have much respect and appreciation to dynasties Bulls, Lakers and Celtics. However, these ball clubs have the luxury of big budgets. I think that having operated in much lower budgets, there must be a higher appraisal of Spurs’ success than meets the eye.

  35. kobefanjay says:

    Remember also that 3 of the craziest things that have happened in NBA history also involved The Spurs…Fisher’s .4 shot, Mcgrady’s 13 points in 33 seconds and of course Ray Allen’s shot…It took these crazy miracles just to overcome the Spur’s dominant system…I feel these moments also help to solidify their Dynasty

  36. Anonymous says:

    Mike, they are the furthest thing from being punks. If you have no inherently knowledgable argument to back your statement then it has no substance. Plus Lebron is constantly compared the great one MJ. Now that is the one who could not stand in the same regard if you want to get technical.

  37. donovan says:

    Based on a conceptual definition of ‘dynasty’, the Spurs are, no doubt, a dynasty. Their success and loyalty span 2-3 decades. Personally, I’d choose longevity over a short-lived 3-peat.

  38. overrated says:

    Starting 5
    C – Bill Russell 11 time Champ
    PF – Tim Duncan 5 times
    SF – Larry Bird 3 times or Scottie Pippen 6 times (im leaning towards Pippen but if no position to consider i’ll take Kobe)
    SG – Michael Jordan 6 times
    PG – Magic Johnson 5 times

    Whats your all time Starting 5??? Lebron have a long ways to go…

  39. Gripweed says:

    Mike, you ignorant pile of shiitake mushrooms, the Spurs played team basketball on a level unseen in the NBA since Portland won the title in 1977! They aren’t as flashy as the title winning Bulls or Lakers teams but they play smarter and with more determination. It was great watching them dismantle the “flashy” Miami Heat!

  40. mike says:

    You can’t put those clowns in a group with the Chcago bulls and Lakers. Those teams were unbelievable. You did not have to write a article to say they were great. They were great.This little punk team would never stand a chance against those power houses.

    • Anonymous says:

      mike, though you wrote this post so uneloquently, you do have a point. The Spurs had a three year span between their first and second championships. Those three years were dominated by the Lakers, in which the Spurs competed against. So clearly the Lakers at the time were a better team. As for the Bulls, especially the 95-96 Bulls, you are correct as well. Though it’s a theoritical / match in my wildest dreams but won’t ever happen type competition, it’s safe to say the Spurs probably won’t win, as if any team really stands against against them. This article is not pointing out the obvious, that the Spurs are a great team. Everyone can clearly see that. This article is trying to add perspective, that though the Spurs are the NBA’s best in 2014, they have been consistently one of the best teams in the NBA for nearly 20 years. All the stats that are mentioned in this article, consecutive 50 win seasons (winning at least 61% of games played), team trio with so many wins, consecutive years in playoff contention, name any other team during the last 30 years in the NBA or any of the four major sports that comes close matching all of those stats?The Lakers and the Bulls dominated during their time, but neither has sustained this consistent excellent play, nor has any other in any sport, for the span that the Spurs have.

    • The Truth says:

      I’d like to say that I am a huge Phil Jackson fan, but his questioning of the Spurs’ dynasty also points to the fact he is flawed like any other human being, even though he is the Zen master… He’s always had smack to talk when it comes to the Spurs. Like Jordan with Lebron, he probably feels a little threatened by Popovich and these Spurs (his legacy, I mean). Reason is, the Spurs do it their own unique way – not better necessarily, just different. The San Antonio Spurs are a dynasty. They define a dynasty. It’s real. Appreciate that. Five titles. Six Finals appearances. Nine Western Conference Finals. Made it out of the first round 14 times. It’s really 17-straight 50+ win seasons (yes, I’m counting ’99, where only fifty games were played – their winning percentage was on pace for 60 wins). Okay. Enough said. SPURS = DYNASTY. NO DOUBT.

  41. Kiru says:

    I do not agree that nobody expected it. When we were watching the Finals last year – and were extremely happy to have Game 7 – we thought that these teams were going to be in this years Final as well. I saw Patty Mills in London playing extremely well for Australia and Boris Diaw in the Eurobasket in 2013. We new that Danny Green would not forget how to hit 3 pointers. I was watching Tiago Splitter in Euroleague basketball for 10 years excelling in Tau Ceramica. And I have not even mentioned the Big 3. Parker was fenomenal in the Euronasket last year (France won it all beating Lithuania 80 – 66!). We totally expected it just a bit disappointed with the Heat not to fight like last year.
    This years Final was the celebration of team basketball.

  42. Erlo says:

    Spurs deserved to win. Just a better team overall that showed poise under pressure with contributions from everyone on the team. The Heat are still my team. Disappointed in the lack of effort except for Lebron. I feel for him as Bosh, Wade and Chalmers all decided to set their dial to coast for some reason during the finals. Good job on number 5 Duncan. Well deserved.

    • iamironman says:

      Finally a fellow true fan. Well said,bro. Let’s congratulate the Spurs for their wonderful performance against our Heat.

  43. SharpieOne says:

    I always thought a dynasty was a team that wins multiple championships (usually more than 2) in a 10 year period, with the same core players. Anyway, regardless of what the Laker fans claim a “dynasty” actually is, I’d much rather make the playoffs 17 years in a row, win 5 out of 6 championships from 1999-2014, completely dominate a really good Heat team and still have a chance at a few more titles than win 3 in a row and drop off the face of the Earth. Well on a completely unrelated topic, I can’t wait to see the Miami fans disappear forever after Lebron opts out and leaves them. Last year they abandoned him, he won a title and every single fan pretended like they were 1 out of the 100 people who actually stayed (or who actually watched the game on TV from beginning to end.) This year they act like the Spurs had to rig the AC’s in order to win a single game because Chalmers led the Heat to victory with his game 2 elbow. Then the Spurs blow out the Heat in games 3 and 4 and the crowd started leaving in the 3rd quarter and the arena was practically empty with 6 minutes left in each game. In game 4 the only Heat “fans” remaining in the last 6 minutes decided to stay so they could boo Lebron and the rest of the players. I actually felt a little bad for Lebron for a minute but then I remembered that he’s the one who chose those Miami fans. He had a chance to go anywhere and play and he chose South Beach, where the fans are just as fake as the women in Miami with all that cosmetic surgery. He got himself a nice, hard, plastic set of double D fans. Apparently Lebron didn’t read the warning label because those fans are known to pop with pressure.

    • Brad T says:

      Ha, “double D fans” — nicely said

    • NBAfan says:

      Congrats to the Spurs and they are a great team, but PLEASE PLEASE don’t look down on 2-peats and 3-peats just so you can hype the Spurs up.

      If they’re so good, why couldn’t they win two in a row? That’s the only knock on the Spurs really…Well, they have a chance next year…

  44. Ok….I am a huge Spurs fan and have been every since the drafted a childhood friend (Willie Anderson) in the 88 draft, But lets not get crazy…The 95-96, 72-10 Bulls team would have Beat this team in 6 games…. The folks on this blog are undercutting the accomplishments of the Spurs with some of the over the top foolishness that they are spouting… Celebrate!!! Cheer, but lets not get crazy…..

    • MR210 says:

      Hopefully one day they’ll be in a video game so fans can play against some legendary teams.

      I think this current Spurs team would actually beat the 72-10 Bulls.

      Spurs beat the Top 2 Players in the NBA today to win the championship.
      - LBJ
      - Durant
      Let’s not forget about Durant’s buddy Westbrook. Top five player in the league?

      Plus, Spurs did all this considering they are “old”.

      Fun to think about though….sorry MJ, but Kawhi would be able to hang with you. MJ would not be strong enough to take Kawhi down in the post…but Kawhi and Spurs help defense would be able to contain him.
      Spurs still have better bench. Give me Spurs in 7!

      • Brad T says:

        Whoa! That is basketball blasphemy to speak that way of the 72-win Bulls!

      • NBAfan says:

        Don’t go overboard….nobody in that team can stop Jordan…maybe Jordan during his Bullet days, but not his Bulls days…plus, nobody in that team will want to win more than Jordan…that’s what makes him Michael Jordan…his competitiveness and his will to win.

        Pippen will expose Kawhi…please….leaving Jordan to just stomp the Spurs…

  45. Anonymous says:

    I hate to point to this out, but it is the fans and media that are responsible for not respecting the Spurs team as a dynasty. mee(a)t asked a valid question: doesn’t it take 3 championships in a row to be a dynasty? That is what people make it out to be, that a dynasty must be maintained for at least three years in a row, not two in three or two in four or three in five. Because of the business in keeping people’s interests in the sport, teams like the Spurs are skylined as the great team. They are just another team in the mix, even though they’ve been in the mix for nearly two decades. But that doesn’t matter to people. What matters is if you can catch the national media attention over and over and over (at least that many times).

  46. El Stone says:

    I’ve been watching basketball a long time. I don’t think any team I’ve ever seen could have beaten these Spurs. Not Kobe/Shaq Lakers, not Jordan/Pippen Bulls, not Magic Johnson’s Lakers, not Larry Bird’s Celtics and definitely not anyone before that. I don’t think any of those teams at their best could have beaten this Spurs squad.

    5 titles over 15 years is most definitely a dynasty.

  47. mee(a)t says:

    I thought you had to win 3 rings in a row to be a dynasty?

    • MR210 says:

      That’s dumb.
      If that is the case – then the Lakers/Celtics of the 80′s are not considered dynasties.
      Both didn’t win three in a row.

      Dynasty is a team going to the finals multiple times within a defined timeframe…or Player with same team goes to finals multiple times in their career.
      Whether it’s Jordan’s two three-peats…Shaq/Kobe era…Lakers/Celtics of the 80′s….Celtics/Lakers of the 50′s and 60′s…
      More recently: Heat, Spurs.
      Heat 4 finals appearances in a row – whether they win all of them or lose all of them – that is a dynasty.
      Spurs Big Three with 5 finals appearances in last 12 years – that is a dynasty.

  48. taekayo says:

    Kobe Bryant “era”. please.

    anyway, its kinda quiet though. where’s the Heat bandwagon?

    • Anonymous says:

      They turned off their computers and phones to avoid Hangtime and social media…probably since halfway through the fourth quarter of Game 5. Walk out on the cyber world, just like how they did on “their team” in Miami with over 3 minutes left in both Games 3 and 4.

    • NBAfan says:

      You may dislike Kobe as a person, but you can’t deny his greatness as a basketball player.

      7 trips to the finals, 5 rings, that’s an era whether you like Kobe or not. More importantly, he won with two very different teams: with Shaq and without Shaq. Can you say that about Duncan? Can you say that about Lebron, Magic, Bird, and even Jordan?

      The only constants in Kobe’s 5 rings are Phil and Fisher…and Fisher ain’t no Pippen.

      • iamironman says:

        Really? Kobe had Gasol,Bynum,Artest in the ‘without Shaq era’. Stop riding Kobe ’cause he’s just about done

      • Thompson says:

        Duncan won with two very different teams. Twice with the Admiral, when the Spurs were “grind it out”, and three times without, when they accelerated their offense.

        Apparently I can say the same about Duncan.

        So there.

  49. Robert says:

    Im a big ROCKETS fan. SPURS organization has a lotta respect here in Houston. Im happy they beat the HEAT. Gotta cheer on another Texas team! Gets really hot in Texas so i know we can take on the”HEAT”. Congrats to SPURS & the city of San Antonio

  50. David T M. says:

    Go Spurs Go!! Congrats to you all. This is team ball at is finest. From Tim, tony, and manu, to each and every player and each and every play. Much appreciation for the effort. 99 03 05 07 and now 2014. Pop and Spurs did it again to now surprise. Who knew-this guy.GO SPURS GO!!!

  51. Summergal74 says:

    I’m almost 100% positive that nobody saw this coming! The Spurs completely demolished the Heat in all four games! They won because they did what the Heat failed to do-share the basketball! The ball movement was incredible! That’s how team basketball is supposed to be played. Unlike the Heat, relying on one man (James or Wade) to carry the team. All season long, the Spurs were on a mission to send their east coast rivals a message. Their top priority was to knock off the Heat and proove that they were and still is the better team. Congrats to the San Antonio Spurs for having a great season and more important for taking care of business Sunday night!

    • MR210 says:

      Some of us actually called Spurs in 5 games…and we were called every name in the book…

  52. Born & raise in San Antonio so proud of our “Spurs” which everyone calls them our boys!!!! Great Job so proud of each and one of you all “Go Spurs Go”, we have never given up

  53. Jason says:

    Fran, this is one of your best articles. Write more stuff like these please, instead of those…….

  54. Alex G says:

    These Spurs have been fantastic over the past decade and a half. They will be remembered for decades to come.

  55. Shak says:

    Hats off to the Spurs. They exemplify what sport is all about. Truly amazing to watch the caliber of play these players bring to the court. The Spurs system is amazing and the play on the court is unselfish. Well deserved. Congrats!!

  56. Nadeem says:

    Heck ya, the Spurs are a dynasty and they will continue to rule for the foreseeable future.

    • hegalong says:

      Give me a team where the bench players have the moments to play GREAT basketball??

      It’s really nice to watch the SPURS when Leonard received the MVP award…priceless!!

      - Bulls fan still living from Jordan’s era ..