The San Antonio Spurs have arguably been the Gold Standard in the NBA for this current century, and as such, picking the Spurs all-time starting five wasn’t a difficult task. I did give it some deep thought however. So after I had flitted about for a bit, daydreaming and fondly reminiscing about the likes of Vinny Del Negro, Billy Paultz, and Carl Herrera, I decided on a definite starting five.
The Time Machine
I was so amped with my selections that I yearned to see them in action. What good does it do to pick historically great players then not see them play? So did I pop into my time machine? The one I haven’t told anyone here at The Peach Basket about? Of course not. And don’t tell them about that shit either. They’ll want to kidnap LeBron James and line him up against the Bad Boy Pistons, the Showtime Lakers, or…the ‘95-‘96 Chicago Bulls!
One Peach Basket contributor, in particular, will want to do even more disturbing things with the time machine, like transport Udonis Haslem back to his fourth season in the league to face off with a very young and spry rookie named Wilt Chamberlain. The time machine stays between you and me, dear reader.
So I didn’t use the time machine, I used the next best thing: NBA 2K, and in this case, 2K21 because I haven’t had the time to purchase and get acquainted with 2K22 despite being in possession of a gotdamn time machine. Well, lo and behold, I peep the Spurs all-time team on the 2K thing and it’s exactly the same as mine! Is this a good or bad development? I don’t know.
Now at this point you could skip the formalities of this article and go check your copy of the game, if you have one, but you clicked on this article for entertainment. Unfortunately, that’s in short supply here, so let’s get right to the list!
Drumroll please. Ladies and gentlemen, your San Antonio Spurs All-Time Starting Five!
Center- David Robinson
This is a no-brainer, an uncontested layup, an open goal opportunity. There’s no way that even I could mess this one up. The Admiral brought the Spurs into league-wide relevancy. The franchise had been competitive and had their moments in the playoffs, but were never serious championship contenders. That all changed when Robinson arrived in San Antonio fresh out of the Navy. Built like a Greek God, he dominated the paint with athleticism and grace, and he was, and still is, a pillar of the community. Honorable mention: Artis Gilmore.
Power Forward- Tim Duncan
Probably the best to ever play this position and easily Top 10 Best Ever. I would put him in the Top 5, but that’s a conversation for “I Said It. I’ll Own It!”. As good as David Robinson was, the chip was achieved when Duncan showed up. His low-key demeanor yet smoldering competitive nature and the humility that allowed his head coach to actually coach are what sets him apart as an exemplary teammate, player, and champion. Is there an honorable mention here? Not really, but if you absolutely must have a couple, here’s Dennis Rodman and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Small Forward- Kawhi Leonard
(Here’s where Spurs fans are going to start organizing a pitchfork and torches party on my front lawn, and I get it too. I know who they’d rather put here and why they don’t want Kawhi Leonard in this spot. Normally, I’d agree, but the guy they want here has a special place later on in this article.)
There’s no denying Kawhi Leonard. He was key in the last championship campaign in 2014. He was just coming into his own, and if not for Zaza Pachulia undercutting him in that playoff game against Golden State when the Spurs were throttling the Dubs, we might be experiencing something very different today. We all know the story that has its roots in that untimely injury, and that story has added a fistful of salt to Spurs fan’s lives. We can’t let all that sodium blind us though. Kawhi was undoubtedly great for the Spurs and deserves this spot. Honorable mentions: Sean Elliott (that shot!), and Bruce Bowen.
Shooting Guard- George Gervin
The Iceman had the coolest poster, literally, in NBA history. If you don’t know about it, look it up. It’s the epitome of stylish hoops. Ice was the first Spurs superstar I remember seeing as a kid. They’d be in the playoffs against Magic Johnson’s Lakers late on a Friday night (probably tape delayed). I could barely keep my eyes open, but I remember. He was long, lean, and the definition of smooth. Two words: Finger roll. He’s also the oldest player on the Spurs All-Time Starting Five. Honorable mention: Alvin Robertson.
Point Guard- Tony Parker
Is there any doubt? He was consistently one of the fastest players in the league and easily one of the most intense. Parker showed up as an 18 year old from France and looked out of his depth, but he persevered and allowed himself to be coached. Tony took the brunt of Gregg Popovich’s sideline admonitions but he learned from them as well. Spurs fans watched him grow as a player and as a steady championship presence. And do you remember that spin move of his? I do. Honorable mentions: Avery Johnson, James Silas, Johnny Moore.
Sixth Man- Manu Ginobili
Yeah, I cheated. I added one more player. I had to make space for Manu. This is where he made his bread: off the bench. He was the proverbial spark that would keep the opponents second squad off balance. He definitely could have started for the Spurs, but he bought into Popovich’s vision and took the Sixth Man role. Unpredictable, athletic, lively, and a joy to watch, Grandpa Juice is a legend in every sense of the word. In my opinion, he’s Mr. Spur, if they ever feel the need to bestow such an honor on anyone.
So, there you have it, hoops fans. The Spurs All-Time Starting Five. It was fun remembering these players, even the one that forced his way out of San Antonio. But no salt, you know?