These 3 stars briefly suited up for the San Antonio Spurs in the 1990s
What do you think about when remembering the San Antonio Spurs of the 1990s? For most Spurs fans it’s probably largely dominated by David Robinson’s explosion into the league, his MVP campaign in 1995, and then Tim Duncan joining the team in the 1997 draft and taking them into the upper echelon of teams almost right away.
After Duncan joined the team things almost became a blur. There was 50 win season after 50 win season, title contention every year, the playoffs were a lock. We’re past that now and it’s time we took a look back on some of the forgotten San Antonio Spurs of the 1990s.
While the San Antonio Spurs of the 90s are primarily known for the dominant names like Robinson and Duncan, these two didn’t do it alone. They had help from a variety of impressive role players and future Hall of Famers. The success that the Spurs teams of the 90s had wouldn’t have been possible without players such as Sean Elilott, Steve Kerr, Doc Rivers, and Avery Johnson.
But for every complimentary player that we all remember for their time with the Spurs, there’s still a few that many forget. These three players all largely made their names elsewhere but still spent a brief moment in the Alamo City during the 1990s.
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Dennis Rodman’s time with the San Antonio Spurs was brief but impactful
One of the many highlights of The Last Dance was the inside look it gave us on Dennis Rodman. The NBA isn’t short of large personalities but Rodman might take the cake as the league’s most interesting player.
To call Rodman’s beginnings ‘humble’ would be an injustice. He worked his ass off to make it to the league and that tenacious attitude helped him become one of the best rebounders in league history. The Spurs felt that they needed to add a bit of toughness to their roster so in 1993 they sent Elliott and picks to Detroit in order to bring Rodman to Texas.
Unsurprisingly, Rodman didn’t mesh with David Robinson right away. The two had vastly different personalities and while Robinson was open about how he thought Rodman was a great guy, he also admitted that his strong personality was also destructive from a team perspective.
Rodman did help the Spurs make it to the Western Conference Finals in 1995 but even the combination of Rodman and Robinson was not enough to knock the Hakeem Olajuwon led Houston Rockets off their path to the title. Rodman would later call coming up short a “blessing” that helped fuel him in his years with the Chicago Bulls.
He’s much better known for his time in Detroit with the Bad Boys and his years in Chicago with Jordan and Pippen but Rodman’s time in San Antonio, however brief, was still important to the success of those Spurs teams that he did play on.
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Remember when Dominique Wilkins played for the San Antonio Spurs?
We’ve talked about Dominique Wilkins’s time in San Antonio before but it’s still crazy that one of the most electric players of the 80s and 90s played for the Spurs during his final years.
Not only did Wilkins play for the Spurs, he actually led them in scoring in his lone season in the Alamo City! Injuries to several other key players like David Robinson pushed Wilkins into a prominent role where he was able to excel even at the age of 37.
Wilkins made his name as a high flying dunker and Eastern Conference All-Star with the Atlanta Hawks but he was still getting buckets in his old age.
Wilkins’s time in San Antonio was a win for both sides. Without Robinson, the Spurs season was pretty much lost. At least having an old beloved star like Wilkins on the team gave fans a reason to keep coming to games and gave those at home some added entertainment value on what would have otherwise been a complete wash of a season.
This wasn’t Dominque’s last hurrah in the NBA though. He would come back two years later to briefly play for the Orlando Magic before calling it a career.
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Rod Strickland dished out dimes for the San Antonio Spurs
He’s less recognizable than the other two names on this list but Rod Strickland still got buckets and dished out dimes with the best of them. If you haven’t checked out some of his highlights on YouTube I highly recommend killing a half-hour by doing so.
Strickland came to the San Antonio Spurs in the middle of teh ’89-90 season and immediately took off. He started in 24 of his 31 appearances that season and became the Spurs best passer and assist leader.
Injuries and contract disputes disrupted the remainder of Stricklands time in San Antonio but when he was active he was impressive. In his time with the Spurs, he averaged 13.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Strickland would go on to bounce around the league, making notable stops in Portland and Washington. He led the league in assist during the 1997-98 season by averaging 10.5 assists per game on a Wizards squad that also featured Chris Webber and Juwan Howard.
Frankly, Strickland is one of the more underrated point guards in league history. He was consistently one of the better passers in the league throughout his career but unfortunately never made an All-Star team.
There you have it, 3 San Antonio Spurs who you probably forgot played for the team in the 1990s. When we look back on the 2020’s I wonder who we will include in that list.