A Look Back: Setting the Foundation

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.

San Antonio’s first taste of professional basketball came four days prior to the Spurs first “official” ABA debut… in a game touted as “The Pro Basketball Championship In The State Of Texas” San Antonio met Houston in the first of many games between the intrastate rivals… the game was unique because the first half was to be played by NBA rules, the second half and overtime sessions would be played under ABA rules… the game was also played with a no-disqualification rule, meaning players could accumulate 6-or-more fouls… at the time the trustees for the ABA were trying to decide whether to adopt the no-disqualification rule for the ABA regular season… the Spurs would draw first blood with a 91-89 victory… Jerry Chambers led the way for the Spurs 20 points… Rudy Tomjanovich paced Houston with 29.

October 22, 1976 - First NBA Game
The Spurs traveled to Philadelphia for their NBA debut where they defeated the 76ers 121-118… Billy Paultz led the way for the Spurs with 27 points… unfortunately fans in San Antonio tuning into the game on the radio missed ending… the Spurs were ahead by 6 with 25 seconds to go in the game when technical difficulties silenced Terry Stembridge’s broadcast… Stembridge kept his composure and taped the remaining seconds of the game, which was replayed when the radio transmission was re-established… the game also marked Hall of Famer Dr. J’s first NBA game… the 76ers purchased his contract a day earlier from the New York Nets… according the Express-News in the days leading up to the subsequent Philadelphia deal, then Nets had shopped Erving to numerous teams around the NBA, one of which being the Spurs… New York had asked for George Gervin, Mark Olberding and either George Karl or Mike Gale in return for Dr. J… San Antonio balked at the offer and Gervin became an Alamo City legend while Dr. J made his house calls in Philadelphia.

Memories of George “Iceman” Gervin

“Some of my favorite memories from my ABA days were playing the in old HemisFair Arena and my teammates. The fan support was unbelievable. They were our sixth man. There were times it would go so loud it felt like the building was shaking. I’ll always remember when “Dancing Harry” got married during halftime. We all came out of the locker room a little early to see the wedding. Then there were the great guys I played with. There are too many to name, but they were all great guys and we share a lot of great memories. I’m just proud that I got to be a part of the ABA.”

May 17, 1987 - Spurs win 1987 NBA Draft Lottery
The Spurs won the NBA Draft Lottery in New York… Bob Bass was on hand with a lucky Red Chameleon… the Los Angeles Clippers were the odds-on favorite to land the 7-footer out of the Naval Academy, as they finished with a league worst 12-70 record… San Antonio’s 28-54 mark was only fourth worst in the NBA… Bass’ chameleon worked as the Spurs leapfrogged the three teams with worse records and won the number one pick in the 1987 NBA Draft, which they used to select All-Star center David Robinson.

Drossos and Gervin Coverage
San Antonio Light

San Antonio Express

Sporting News
Dallas Morning News
San Antonio News - Dan Cook
San Antonio News