A Look Back: Hemisfair Arena

Each week spurs.com will take a look back at some of the classic moments that dot the landscape for this storied franchise in a celebration of its history.

12/13/74 - Spurs hire Bob Bass
Bass was named head coach replacing Tom Nissalke… he was credited with instilling a run-an-gun style to the Spurs attack… he also moved George Gervin from forward to guard… Bass would go to an illustrious career in San Antonio, serving as: general manager, vice president of basketball operations, assistant to the chairman, head coach and assistant coach over his 20 years with the Spurs… over his 1,617 games in San Antonio the Spurs posted a 877-740 record… Bass was twice named NBA Executive of the Year (in 1990 with the Spurs and 1997 with the Hornets)

1/28/75 - ABA All-Stars
Only one season after being welcomed to San Antonio, the Spurs hosted the eighth annual ABA All-Star Game… the Spurs had front-office staff of four (Angelo Drossos –executive vice president, Bernie LeReau – trainer, equipment manager, business manager, Terry Stembridge – broadcaster and broadcast sales manager and Wayne Witt – Director of Public Relations) at the time of the game… Joe Namath was lined up as guest speaker at a pregame luncheon, “As I recall it was a lousy speech," said Stembridge. “Short, not particularly good. Everyone decided he had been overpaid.” … Willie Nelson performed at a pregame gala (where he played almost until dawn) and also sang the national anthem… the game’s MVP, St. Louis’ Freddie Lewis, received a quarter horse named Tuff Julie… Lewis eventually settled on Tuff Julie’s auction price of $1,950 instead of opting to take the horse home… the East won the game 151-124.

4/7/76 - Texas Flood
Fans in the Alamo City saw one of the more interesting, albeit one of the last games in ABA history… a leak in the roof of HemisFair Arena forced the Spurs-Indiana Pacers game to be played under some different rules… because a portion of the court was coned off in the slippery areas it was decided there would be no pressing of the ball handler outside of the 3-point lines and there would be no fast breaks allowed… the games was also played with a running clock on dead balls to make up for the nearly 40-minute delay to get the court “game-ready”… the Spurs ended up taking the game 96-75 … Arena officials weren’t out of the woods after the game ended either… with the Spurs set to host the New York Nets in ABA Playoffs in just two days, contractors were able to patch the leaks in HemisFair’s roof, however they could not guarantee the patches would hold in the event of another rain storm… luckily for everyone involved the weather co-operated and no new “rules” were needed.

2/10/77 - Raise the roof
The San Antonio City Council approved $4 million in funds to raise the roof of the HemisFair Arena, allowing the building to accommodate 6,000 more seats… it took 38 jacks to lift the 2,260 ton roof the 33 feet needed to complete the project.


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