There’s no easy answer to give on why the San Antonio Spurs haven’t gotten more attention in recent years. They definitely haven’t generated the same kind of buzz in recent years as other championship teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and even the Dallas Mavericks. Some think its because they play in small market, many find their style of play as bland, while others think the Spurs aren’t a dynasty because they never repeated as champions. Whatever the reason may be, the franchise has made their mark on NBA history.
The San Antonio Spurs have not missed the NBA Playoffs since drafting Tim Duncan in 1997. During that run, they have advanced to the Western Conference Finals in eight times and are now looking to win their first NBA title since 2007. Despite their consistency and championship winning ways, Gregg Popovich’s squad has never quite gotten the attention as some of the other dominant teams in recent years, such as the Lakers and Heat. His group of players isn’t the first team to dominant their sport, but not the headlines or history books.
1972-1974 Oakland Athletics
World Series: 3
Managers: Dick Williams (1972-73) and Alvin Dark (1974)
Notable Players: Reggie Jackson, Rollie Fingers, Catfish Hunter, Bert Campaneris, Joe Rudi, Vida Blue, Blue Moon Odom, Sal Bando, Dave Duncan, and Gene Tenace.
There have only been four three-peats in the history of Major League Baseball and only one of them was accomplished by a team that didn’t play in the Bronx. Charlie Finley’s Swingin A’s quickly became a contender on the West Coast, after arriving from Kansas City in 1968. Their young pitching staff quickly helped them become a force in the AL West and a championship contender. Their could have been more success in Oakland had Dick Williams stuck around and if the rise of free agency, didn’t allow some of their core players to go elsewhere.
1980-1984 New York Islanders
Stanley Cups: 4
Coach: Al Arbour
Hall of Famers: Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Denis Potvin, Billy Smith, and Clark Gillies.
The New York Islanders and Larry Holmes had the same problem during the early Reagan era. Both of them were at their peak in an era between two bigger legends of their sports. The Stanley Cup reign of the Islanders came after Scotty Bowman’s Montreal Canadians and before the Edmonton Oilers of Wayne Gretzky, while Larry Holmes was the best in the world after Muhammad Ali and before Mike Tyson. Arbour’s squad won a record 19 consecutive playoff series and nearly became only the second five-peat in NHL history in 1984. That was the first year that Gretzky and the Oilers raised the cup.
1980-1986 Louisville Cardinals
National Titles: 2
Final Four Appearances: 4
Coach: Denny Crum
Notable Players: Darrel Griffith, Rodney McCray, Derek Smith, Billy Thompson, Pervis Ellison, and Kenny Payne.
Some of the Georgetown, North Carolina, and Houston from this era are always talked about as some of the best in the history of college basketball. Rarely is the success of the Cardinals mentioned, the only program other than Indiana to win multiple Final Fours in the 1980’s. Louisville also advanced to the national semifinals three times over a four year period from 1980-1983.
1982-1991 Washington Redskins
Super Bowls: 3
Playoff Appearances: 7
Coach: Joe Gibbs
Notable Players: Joe Theismann, John Riggins, Joe Jacoby, Russ Grimm, Dexter Manley, Charles Mann, Art Monk, Gary Clark, Doug Williams, Darrell Green, Earnest Byner, and Mark Rypien.
Another example of champions that played at the same time as other legendary teams. The 49ers, Raiders, Giants, and Bears teams from this era come to mind for many before The Hogs. Washington won three Super Bowls during the original Joe Gibbs era with three different quarterbacks and arguably the best offensive line in NFL history.
1987-2000 Florida State Seminoles
National Titles: 2
January Bowl Games: 13
Coach: Bobby Bowden
Famous Alumni: Deion Sanders, LeRoy Butler, Casey Weldon, Brad Johnson, Charlie Ward, Peter Boulware, Derrick Brooks, Warrick Dunn, Walter Jones, Andre Wadsworth, Corey Simon, Peter Warrick and Chris Weinke.
Florida State missed out on several national titles in during that time thanks to some bad field goal kicks against Miami. However, Bowden’s program won at least 10 games and finished the season ranked in the top five for 14 consecutive years. Their 109 wins were the most during the 1990’s.
1999-2007 San Antonio Spurs
NBA Titles: 4
Division Titles: 7
Coach: Gregg Popovich
Notable Players: Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Sean Elliott, Steve Kerr, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, Bruce Bowen, Michael Finley and Robert Horry.
The Spurs identity always changed during their championship run. The first one was led by the twin towers of Tim Duncan and David Robinson. Their second title squad featured Duncan at his peak carrying a veteran group, while the next two championship teams included him in a dominant trio with an established Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker. San Antonio never repeated as NBA champions, but they did win more titles than Red Holzman’s New York Knicks, the 1980’s Boston Celtics and the Bad Boy-era Pistons.