Start of a dynasty: 25th Anniversary of Spurs’ 1999 NBA championship run

Tim Duncan was named Finals MVP averaging 27.4 point and 14.0 rebounds per game

NBA Champions San Antonio Spurs', from left, Tim Duncan, Antonio Daniels, David Robinson, Gerard King, Sean Elliott, Avery Johnson and Jerome Kersey celebrate after defeating the New York Knicks 78-77 in Game 5 of the 1999 NBA Finals Friday, June 25, 1999, at New York's Madison Square Garden. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) (MARK LENNIHAN, Copyright 2024 by AP - All rights reserved.)

On June 25, 1999, the San Antonio Spurs celebrated their first NBA Championship victory after defeating the New York Knicks in five games. This marked the first of the Spurs’ five total NBA Championships.

Securing the Larry O’Brien trophy for the Alamo City, the Spurs outperformed the Knicks.

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Star player Tim Duncan was named Finals MVP after averaging an impressive 27.4 points and 14.0 rebounds per game.

The series began with the Spurs claiming victories in Game 1 and Game 2 at the Alamodome, with scores of 89-77 and 80-67, respectively.

Despite losing Game 3 at Madison Square Garden, the Spurs rallied to win Game 4 and Game 5, including a thrilling 78-77 victory in the series finale, where guard Avery Johnson sank the game-winning shot with just 47.0 seconds remaining in regulation.

Due to a lockout, the 1998-99 season was shortened to 50 regular season games, leading to some debate about the legitimacy of the Spurs’ championship win.

Because of the shortened season, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson controversially suggested the Spurs’ 99 NBA Championship deserved an asterisk.

At the same time, former Spurs player Steve Kerr, who played for Jackson in Chicago with the Bulls, dismissed the claim, saying, “That’s just Phil. He likes to provoke, to get under people’s skin. He was poking the Spurs because they were a threat.”

Nevertheless, the Spurs made history as the first ABA franchise to claim an NBA Championship, solidifying their place in basketball glory.

The 1998-99 Spurs Roster
  • PG 33 Antonio Daniels
  • PF 21 Tim Duncan
  • SG 17 Mario Elie
  • SF 32 Sean Elliott
  • SG 10 Andrew Gaze
  • SG 2 Jaren Jackson
  • PG 6 Avery Johnson
  • PG 4 Steve Kerr
  • SF 25 Jerome Kersey
  • PF 54 Gerard King
  • C 41 Will Perdue
  • C 50 David Robinson
  • PF 31 Malik Rose
  • SG 11 Brandon Williams

About the Author

Larry Ramirez joined the KSAT 12 sports team in October 2004.

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