1998 was a great year for the San Antonio Spurs. If for no other reason, it was Tim Duncan's rookie year and the start of his legacy in San Antonio.
Aside from that, the Spurs, who were still playing in the Alamodome, finished with a 56-26 record, got past the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs before losing 1-4 to the Utah Jazz.
Or did they?
According to a t-shirt available on NBA.com, the Spurs, not the Chicago Bulls, won the championship in 1998. The shirt, which sports the old fiesta logo and colors has "World Champions Spurs" written across the top followed by four inversed banners at the bottom containing the year - 1998.
This obviously could not be a case of the shirts being printed for the team the lost the NBA Finals, because the same Jazz the Spurs lost to in the second round, were the Bulls' Finals opponents.
Perhaps some screen printing company got a bit over anxious at the though of Tim Duncan and David Robinson being on the floor together. While that combo proved to be quite the powerhouse a year later, when the Spurs actually won the championship, the shirt, available for $19.95 could still be a cool collector's item.
But then again, this isn't the first time the NBA gave the Spurs a title without them winning it all. Remember when NBA TV released the Spurs 2013 championship commercial?
So much for that elusive fifth championship.
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What I am still trying to figure out is if this is an intentional mistake, ie: a parody of some kind, or a genuine gaffe by some t-shirt manufacturer granted special licensing by the NBA. Crazy I know, but I even wrote to the NBA store a week ago. Still have yet to hear back. Anybody know?