Jun 11, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs former player David Robinson attends game three of the 2013 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Few teams have the type of history the San Antonio Spurs have. From their humble beginning in the ABA, to their championship contending teams of the modern decade, the Spurs have a history that precious few teams can match.
That history is possible thanks to the plethora of great players that have passed through San Antonio over the years, and as we continue our breakdown of the top five position players in Spurs history, we now move on to the greatest centers to wear the silver and black.
San Antonio is a very lucky team. To have the same player starting at the same position for a 19-year period is nothing short of extraordinary. While you might already know by now who will rank number one in this list, it is also important to know the players in this team’s history that shaped their future for years to come.
If you have not yet been able to check out our latest rankings, you can find those by clicking the corresponding links: Top 5 Point Guards In Spurs History ; Top 5 Shooting Guards In Spurs History ; Top 5 Small Forwards In Spurs History ; Top 5 Power Forwards In Spurs History.
Apr 30, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tiago Splitter (22) reacts against the Dallas Mavericks in game five of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. San Antonio beat Dallas 109-103. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
5. Tiago Splitter: 2010-2015
Whenever Tim Duncan needed a rest, Tiago Splitter was always there to pick up the slack. Selected in the first round in 2007, Splitter was a backup center that was fully capable of playing starter’s minutes. His tough defense and nice post moves proved to be invaluable to the Spurs for five seasons, and the Atlanta Hawks knew this as well, which is why they traded for him in 2015.
In five seasons with San Antonio, he started 151 games and averaged 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and shot 56 percent from the field.
Oct 9, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; NBA legend Artis Gilmore (right) is recognized during a break in the second half of the Orlando Magic game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Other NBA legends include, from left, Rick Barry, and George Gervin and Julius Erving. The New Orleans Pelicans beat the Orlando Magic 99-95. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
4. Artis Gilmore: 1982-1987
Gilmore became one of the best centers in the game while playing for Chicago in the ‘70s. But the Bulls teams he was on were not that good, and he craved for a chance to play for a championship. He got an opportunity to do that with the Spurs when he was traded to the Alamo City in 1982.
That same season, he nearly came close to competing for a title, but his Spurs fell short against the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers in the 1983 Western Conference Finals. Gilmore never again got close to a title, and he went back to the Bulls in 1988 before calling it a career in Boston.
During his five seasons with San Antonio, Gilmore averaged 16.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
Jun 8, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Fans enter the stadium prior to the game with the San Antonio Spurs playing against the Miami Heat in game two of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
3. Coby Dietrick: 1973-1979
Coby Dietrick is a lesser known player in the history of the Spurs. His 6.8 points and five rebounds during his eight seasons with the team is not the most impressive. The fact that he played when the Spurs were known as the Dallas Chaparrals is reason enough for him to crack to the top five.
2. George T. Johnson: 1980-1982
Before Artis Gilmore arrived in San Antonio, the man that was patrolling the paint in the old Hemisfair Arena was George T. Johnson. Drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 1972, where he was part of the 1975 championship team. Johnson came to the Spurs via trade in 1980, and he, along with George Gervin, instantly made the Spurs contenders in the west.
Johnson wasn’t much of a scorer, but he was a great defender, and helped lead the Spurs to the Western Conference Finals in 1982–losing in four games to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Nov 8, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; San Antinio Spurs former player David Robinson reacts on the sidelines of the game between the Arizona State Sun Devils against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Sun Devil Stadium. Arizona State defeated Notre Dame 55-31. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
1. David Robinson: 1989-2003
There is so much to say about the man known as “The Admiral”. David Robinson’s accolades include 10 All-Star selections, franchise leader in blocks, franchise leader in free throws made, NBA MVP in the 1994-95 season and two championships.
An unknown fact is Robinson leads all Spurs in steals with 1,388.
Before Robinson came to San Antonio in 1989, the team was in dire straits. But as soon as he arrived, the Spurs fortunes immediately changed. For the next ten years, Robinson was the face of the franchise, but despite leading some great Spurs teams–and picking up regular season MVP honors in 1995, a title eluded him until 1999, when he teamed up with Tim Duncan to finally deliver San Antonio a title.
For a fitting end to his career, he would give the Alamo City its second ring in 2003.