The Dennison Twins: Next Duncan and Parker


Ken Rodriguez is a San Antonio native who covered his first Spurs game in 1981 for The Daily Texan, the University of Texas student newspaper. He spent 26 years in the newspaper business -- 21 of them covering sports -- before joining the marketing department at Our Lady of the Lake University in 2009. His Spurs.com column will appear every Wednesday.


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Dennison twins
Photo courtesy of Dennison Family

On the same day the Spurs returned home from their Rodeo Road Trip, two boys named Duncan and Parker arrived in the delivery room at North Central Baptist Hospital in San Antonio. Days after their birth on Feb. 24, the twin boys were fitted with silver and black outfits called “onesies.” The longest of the brothers wore No. 21, the shortest No. 9.

Family snapped photos. Mom and dad smiled. The next Duncan and Parker had arrived. The only thing missing from the portrait was a “Go Spurs Go!” banner.

Jon Paul Dennison, the proud father, and Crystal Dennison, the beaming mother, fell in love at a Spurs game. While waiting tables at the Terrace Club, Crystal was asked to show the new hired help around -- Jon Paul. Once they met at the cash register -- cha-ching! -- sparks began to fly, and so did the Spurs.

Jon Paul, 30, doesn’t remember the day. But he remembers the month and year, April 2007. “There were about five games left in the regular season,” he says. “And then the playoffs started.”

After their first date on May 18, the couple carpooled to work together, watched games at the AT&T Center together and followed the Spurs through the end of the postseason. Talk about a whirlwind. Romance blossomed, the Spurs blew through the playoffs and swept the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

“We watched the first two home games at the AT&T Center,” says Jon Paul says, a development company project manager and an associate pastor at Alamo Ranch Community Church.

“We watched Game 4 at a friend’s apartment,” says Crystal, 27, an administrative assistant for an oral surgeon.

“It was awesome,” Jon Paul says.

They married in 2009. Their first children were born hours after the Spurs’ charter touched down from the most successful Rodeo Road Trip in history. Elation mixed with concern in the delivery room. The identical twins arrived five weeks early, their lungs underdeveloped. Duncan (four pounds, 15 ounces) and Parker (five pounds ,two ounces) were placed on breathing machines. Feeding tubes were inserted into their noses.

Church friends began praying. Family dropped in to offer support. When doctors released Crystal, the couple went home to empty silence. “I broke down,” she says. “It was so hard to leave them.”

The twins gained weight and strength over the next two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. They began breathing without the aid of oxygen machines. Spirits have lifted. Mom and dad hope to take the boys home within a week -- well before the postseason commences.

Threads of Silver and Black form the fabric of this story. After learning Crystal was pregnant with twins, friends asked the Dennisons over lunch about possible names. Without thinking, Jon Paul blurted, “How ‘bout Duncan and Parker?” and the table erupted in laughter.

And that’s how the twins came to be named: in a moment of levity, after church, among people who thought Jon Paul was joking. Truth is, he was. But after lunch ended and the company parted, the names lingered and then stuck.

When No. 21 and No. 9 grow up, they’ll have some stories. For example: Duncan was arriving first, but Parker moved in front and beat him out. A family friend refers to the birthing manuever in basketball terms: “The old pick and roll.”

The twins will have another story: Mom and dad only thought they met at a Spurs game. Once, while visiting Crystal’s house, Jon Paul’s girlfriend brought out a photo album. As the couple looked through pictures, Jon Paul spotted himself in one image, taken at a San Antonio bowling center.

They don’t remember meeting or any details about the day the photo was snapped. “But from the look of the picture,” Jon Paul says, “we were bowling in the same lane.”

If these two seemed destined to marry, consider another odd coincidence: Both of their fathers share the same first and middle name -- Jon Charles. The only difference: Crystal’s father includes an “h” in his first name.

With the babies growing stronger, the Dennisons are abuzz with excitement. They have no immediate plans for another child. But if a third son is born?

“We’ll name him Ginobili,” Jon Paul says.

Are you kidding?

“Yeah, we’re kidding,” he says. “But we were kidding the first time with Duncan and Parker. So who knows?”