Under coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs have not missed the playoffs since the 1996-97. They have had one of the longest championship windows in NBA history, as they won 5 championships in a 15 year time span.
The championship everyone remembers is the latest one, in 2014.
Everyone also remembers the first one with the Twin Towers, the close series with the Pistons in 2005, and the slaughter of LeBron’s Cavs in 2007.
But there’s just one everyone always forgets. The 2003 championship is often forgotten because it of what came before it.
The Lakers 3-peat ended that season and they were very popular due to their large market and the popularity of both Shaq and Kobe.
The Spurs were from a medium market and had no marketable stars. Tim Duncan had won the MVP that season, but it was because of good stats on a good team.
The Spurs roster at this time was also not as established as their other championship rosters.
Supporting a young Parker and Ginobili were key contributors, such as Stephen Jackson, Malik Rose, Bruce Bowen, Steve Smith and David Robinson in his last season.
The biggest reason this team is forgotten is who they played in the Finals: The New Jersey Nets lead by Jason Kidd. The Nets were actually a good team, that is often not recognized due to the weak Eastern Conference at the time.
The team is also characterized as an offensive juggernaut, but were actually a significantly better defensive team than offensive team. The Nets surprisingly had the highest defensive rating in the league that year.
The Finals contained two defensive teams from medium markets, which is fuel for a low-interest series to the common fan.
The series was low-scoring, as the Nets failed to score 90 points in any game during the series and the Spurs only topped 90 twice. In fact, Games 2 and 5 are some of the lowest rated games in Finals history.
The series had so few viewers that it had the least viewers per game since 1981, before the NBA was popular and garnered such high viewership.
The only Finals with a lower viewership was the 2007 Finals with the Spurs and Cavaliers, however many remember that as LeBron’s first great feat.
So as the Spurs dynasty slowly comes to a close, and we go over their greatest highlights; keep this weird series in mind.
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