Cohen: Significant NBA Happenings in History That Many Have Forgotten or Ignored
Cohen's Analysis: Throughout the first half of the 90’s, the San Antonio Spurs were a one-man band. David Robinson was the sole attraction and it was apparent that the Spurs relied on him to reach championship potential.
The Spurs were formidable with Robinson. They reached the Western Conference Finals in 1995 and seemed like they were inching closer to finally breaking through.
But suddenly, the injury bug plagued the franchise in 1996 and all that hope and expectations appeared to go down the drain.
The Admiral missed the first 18 games of the 1996-97 season with a back injury and shortly after returning from that ailment, a devastating blow appeared to have crushed any hopes for San Antonio to climb back as a conference power.
It was just two days before Christmas in 1996 and the Spurs were hosting the Miami Heat. San Antonio appeared to finally be returning to familiar form as it had notched three consecutive victories.
Though everything seemed to be fine with his troubled back, on this night Robinson suffered a crushing foot injury. It was later revealed that he broke it and he was ruled out for the season.
Obviously without their captain, the Spurs struggled and finished with the third worst record in the NBA.
But naturally, when a team is this bad, it offers the chance of loading up with a marvel talent in the draft.
With a 21 percent chance of securing the No. 1 pick and landing one of the most highly touted prospects ever, the Spurs hit the jackpot and got Tim Duncan.
After four NBA championships over the next decade and with championship aspirations still realistic for the franchise, it’s probably safe to suggest that the Robinson injury of 1996 was the most impactful injury in NBA history.
Except in this instance, it helped a team rather than sink their ship.
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