In last night's game between France and Germany, Ian Mahinmi played all of four minutes before sitting out the rest of the game. Apparently he suffered a minor hamstring injury. He has undergone an MRI in France but it has been reported this injury is not major. Ian has a history of injuries so this is something for Spurs fans to monitor as the new season approaches. Thanks to the guys at 48 Minutes of Hell for the latest on Ian's injury. For more info click here.
We're continuing our David Robinson tribute week with a guest blog from Rey Moralde of The No Look Pass. The No Look Pass is home to the Chronicles of Crotty podcast and you can also catch some great Lakers, Clippers and even general NBA content there. You can also follow Rey on Twitter.
By Rey Moralde
In this article, it mentioned that there was a possibility of David Robinson going to the Lakers. Now Robinson still had to serve a two-year term at the Navy. So if Robinson ended up going to the Lakers in 1989, what would have happened?
For starters, he'd be an immediate replacement for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Vlade Divac would probably be relegated to a back-up and be traded in a few years (sooner than 1996 , that's for sure). They probably would've beaten the Chicago Bulls in 1991. And even with the early retirement of Magic Johnson, the Lakers would still regularly rattle off 50-win seasons because of the presence of one David Robinson. After all, that's what he did for the Spurs, right? I think Mike Dunleavy might have stayed longer as the Laker coach because they were winning more but the dual power of General Manager and Coach was something Dunleavy wanted, so he probably would've still bolted for Milwaukee. With Robinson in place, the Lakers would've kept the playoff streak going instead of missing the playoffs in the 1993-94 season (Remember when Magic coached? Yeah, that season.)
I don't think Shaq goes to the Lakers with Robinson firmly in place in the middle. Shaq would've probably stayed in Orlando and if he were to bolt in this alternate reality, he probably would've gone to a big-market team like New York.
The Lakers still would've found a way to get Kobe Bryant on the team (after all, it was Lakers or bust with Kobe). And the team was still talented enough if Robinson got hurt on that 1996-97 season. A starting line-up of Nick Van Exel , Eddie Jones , Rick Fox , Robert Horry , and Elden Campbell was still good enough to keep the opposition honest (and Kobe would be the rookie sixth man). So they weren't bad enough to get someone like Tim Duncan (Duncan still might've ended up at San Antonio but they'd have a much tougher time to build that team with Robinson not being there. Of course, Duncan could've also ended up with either Denver, Philadelphia or even the Clippers ). With Robinson in L.A., the Lakers were definitely talented enough to make the Finals.
Would the Lakers win as many titles with Robinson and Kobe as the main cogs of the team? Probably. Maybe even more. They might have even won during the strike season with San Antonio not in the way. Kobe was definitely capable of scoring 30 points per game when he was in his early twenties and Robinson would've gladly played second fiddle to Kobe. What Robinson had that Shaq didn't was the effort on defense (well, actually, Robinson always gave it his all and stayed in shape while Shaq got lazy once in a while). Robinson wouldn't get burned on the pick-and-rolls... and while he didn't have the size, he owned the paint on defense (you see those numbers on blocked shots?). Plus he'll get you a steal here and there, too (averaged 1.4 in his career... career high 2.2 per game in his third year). Even in his later years, he was a great rebounder.
Robinson retired in 2003. However, he might have stayed for one last hurrah in 2004 if that scenario of Gary Payton and Karl Malone coming to the Lakers came about. I can say that with San Antonio not in the mix , they might have won as many as seven titles (maybe six straight from the strike season to 2004) with this team (I think they still would've three-peated with Robinson in the middle... and they definitely had a chance during the strike season even with Del Harris on the helm). A disciplined Laker team of Malone, Payton, Kobe, and Robinson would've beaten the Pistons in 2004. From the strike season to 2004, two teams had a legitimate shot in beating the Lakers ( Portland and Sacramento... and the East was very weak in this period of time).
So is it safe to say that Robinson in the Lakers would've been a better team than the Shaq-led Lakers? Well, again, the Lakers' biggest challenge with the Shaq-led Lakers was the San Antonio Spurs. Besides Sacramento and Portland, who was going to challenge them? In a weaker Western Conference, the Lakers probably would've won more titles with David Robinson in the middle. Whether they're better than the Shaq-led Lakers is debatable, but sometimes the rings tell the story. I would've loved to have the Admiral in purple and gold.
If you looked at his stat line, it's incredible . He was an outstanding scorer, from the post to the midrange game. He was a great rebounder and shotblocker. He was a very good passer for his size (averaged 4.8 assists per game in 1993-94 ). And I already talked about his steals. David Robinson was the last player to have a quadruple-double. You can't just classify David Robinson as a center, he's a basketball player. And that's why Robinson, as a basketball player, is an all-time great. And that's why he's in the Hall of Fame.
We continue with David Robinson tribute week here at Project Spurs with a look at the "soft" label given to him during his playing career.
David Robinson’s list of accomplishments is lengthy, including rebounding, blocked shots and scoring titles to go with the Defensive Player of the Year and MVP award. He is the only player in NBA history to achieve those feats.
Despite his achievements, Robinson struggled to shake the accusations that he and the Spurs were a soft team. Even when he finally won a championship in 1999 people said it did not change anything because it came in the lockout season and Tim Duncan was the go-to player.
To determine if Robinson deserved the label of "soft," we first have to decide what it means in relation to athletes and sport. To me, a soft player is one that does not play hard and shies away from physical contact. A soft player is one that cannot handle pressure and would rather not be the focal part of a team.
"Soft" has been used in reference to Robinson in a couple ways -- describing his off the court persona and how he plays on the court.
Off the court, Robinson was – and still is – a devout Christian, something Sports Illustrated covered in depth with this article from Leigh Montville in 1996. Stories about his faith, which was visible, are well known, and his priorities and life went something like this: God, family, basketball. For many people, this type of lifestyle is soft. He never made headlines for the wrong reason and placed other items ahead of basketball.
On the court, Robinson was criticized for not playing tough in the post, failing to improve his play in the playoffs and not having the mental toughness to carry the Spurs to the NBA Finals. The feelings about Robinson can be summarized by the following quotes from a Sports Illustrated article by Phil Taylor in 1994:
“His talent and grace had never been questioned, but the feeling was growing that after four seasons in the league he was too much of a finesse player, too reliant on jump shots instead of inside power moves. In short, the thinking was that he was too soft to lead the Spurs to an NBA championship.”
"David Robinson has always been nice," says Detroit's Isiah Thomas, "and their team has always been nice. But do you want a bunch of guys who are nice all the time, or do you want to win championships? If Dennis [Rodman] can keep David angry, they could make it out of the West."
The quotes bring up a couple issues. First, the criticism that he played a physically soft style of basketball. Part of Robinson’s problem came from his introduction to basketball late in his teenage years. He entered the NBA with unlimited physical talents but limited basketball skills. Then he played for five coaches in his first six years with each coach asking him to do something different. He was not developed properly from a basketball standpoint and this made it hard for him to develop a complete offensive game early in his career. Then he developed a good jump shot, and with his size he could unleash it whenever he wanted. The NBA was not used to a player of his size and athleticism shooting 15-footers and the reaction was understandably to question why he did not camp out around the basket like his predecessors. Does this make him soft? I don’t think so. We saw that later in Robinson’s career that he had no problems focusing on playing physical basketball against the likes of Shaq. The fact that he won rebounding and shot blocking titles shows that he was a dominant presence around the basket.
The second quote brings up the issue of soft being equivalent to nice. If that is the case then I’m not sure I would want a player who wasn’t soft. We as sports fans are hypercritical if we want a player to avoid trouble and act respectably but then play angry and mean on the court.
The problem stems from how our culture views sports. We describe it in militaristic, violent terms, saying that one team "killed" another, describing a good shooter as a "marksman", or a long shot as a "bomb". We too often take a game make it a life or death event and expect the athletes to play that way.
Not too surprisingly, Robinson, a Naval Academy graduate, did not see basketball in these terms. He spent his first two years after graduation between the Navy and the NBA. He would attend NBA events like the All-Star game and then return to his base and see men who were giving their lives to our country and were more concerned about their families. He understood that there were bigger things in this world than basketball.
Some might see this as soft. I see it as intelligent and reasonable.
Now, there is no denying that Robinson deserved some of the criticism that he received. His numbers typically dropped or stayed the same in the playoffs. His career regular season PER was 26.1 but his playoff PER was 23, which is still a great number. Also, Hakeem Olajuwon did outplay him in the 1994-1995 playoffs, which definitely hurt the MVP’s image in 1995.
Not that those numbers are excusable, but Robinson’s supporting cast was weaker than many of his peers. The only All-Star to play beside him before Duncan was Sean Elliott, who made the team twice but was never a dominant player. Karl Malone had John Stockton, and Olajuwon had Clyde Drexler, Otis Thorpe, Ralph Sampson and Charles Barkley. When Robinson and the Spurs made the playoffs, his supporting cast was always weaker than the opponents, making it easier to focus on him.
To answer my initial question, Robinson fits part of my definition of soft. I do not believe he ever held back anything on the court or shied away from physical contact. Some people might interpret his prioritizing basketball lower than other subjects as proof that he did not play hard, but I do not think that is the case. He still played hard but knew that at the end of the day there was a greater meaning to his life than basketball. Now, I do believe early on in his career that he struggled to handle the pressure of the playoffs. However, I also contend that the lack of a second All-Star hurt his ability to compete with the other top teams out West.
As a whole, I do not think Robinson can be called soft. He had his faults (playoff performances) like every player does, but he rarely, if ever, took plays off. He played basketball through more pain than most people realize and gave everything he had to the Spurs organization.
The fact the he is a nice guy and has his priorities straight does not make him soft, it make him all the more admirable.
We started off our Robinson tribute week with Jeff Garcia's post about the NBA's wasted opportunity in using David Robinson as a player who could have helped the NBA's image crisis. We'll finish off today the same way we'll finish off every day this week, with a guest post by a who's who of NBA bloggers. We start with Natalie Sitto of Need4Sheed. Be sure to visit Natalie's site for some great Pistons content and follow her on twitter.
By Natalie Sitto
I come from a different place when I look back and reflect upon the career of David Robinson. Why? Though an avid fan of the NBA I am beyond loyal to one of the most hated teams in the league, the Detroit Pistons. I wasn't a fan of the Spurs, ESPN didn't have 47 different channels, TNT was barley a network and NBA League Pass wasn't even something that was imaginable, so I was limited to watching Robinson only two games a year.
So how did a Pistons fan come to love The Admiral? His personality and his game.
What first comes to mind when I think about Mr. Robinson is not his awesome fade, but the fact that he single-handedly turned around his franchise as soon as he stepped on the court. I was hooked from his rookie season where I got to see him take the Trail Blazers to seven games in 89-90 playoffs. The Rookie of the Year trophy wasn't even a question.
His game was never a question, he was a joy to watch and one of the few players I dreaded to watch when he was going against my team. Just lock down the Admiral and we can pull it out was a regular mantra. What can you say about a man who in his first six seasons won Rookie of the Year, NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards. Tack on to that a rebounding title, a scoring crown, six All-Star appearances (10 total), three selections to the All-NBA First Team and three selections to the NBA All-Defensive First Team.
He's the only player in NBA history to win the rebounding, blocked shots, and scoring titles and Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and MVP and one of only four players to have recorded a quadruple-double. Add on his NBA titles and Olympic gold medals to his resume and you get one of the greatest basketball players to play the game.
His game was unlike no other, and his charitable work and humble nature was what set him apart from your typical NBA player. His defense and dunks hooked you but his heart kept you coming back for more.
We literally salute you Admiral as you deservedly get inducted into those hallowed halls.
"David Robinson represents for us the commitment to team, the principle and to community that we in the NBA find emblematic of what our players strive to be." NBA Commissioner David Stern, May 1995.
These words were spoken by David Stern when he presented David Robinson the 1995 NBA MVP trophy. While those words ring true for Robinson, nothing could be further than the truth when speaking about the NBA at that time. During Robinson's career, the NBA was suffering from an image problem and Stern, the NBA and sports companies failed to put Robinson at the forefront to cure this and to promote the right image not just for the NBA but for the entire world.
What was promoted and marketed during his time in the NBA flew in the face of Stern's quote. Stern mentions Robinson is emblematic of what the NBA players strive to be but instead we saw the Portland "Jail Blazers" and how they stole the spotlight because of the drama on and off the court. Ruben Patterson pled no contest to a felony sexual assault charge and had to register as a sex offender. Rasheed Wallace threw a towel in Arvydas Sabonis' face. Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire, and Qyntel Woods were arrested for marijuana possession. Rasheed Wallace threatened a referee, Zach Randolph and Ruben Patterson fought in practice, and Bonzi Wells said in a Sports Illustrated interview that the fans don't matter to them.
In addition, Charles Barkley famously stated on a Nike commercial that he wasn't a role model, which is true when he tossed a guy out of a window, had a gambling problem, got in numerous on-court altercations and spat on a little girl. If Barkley didn't want to be a role model then why would Nike play on this? Simple, he was controversial and to sell shoes. Once again Robinson was there and would have gladly embraced the role but since he wasn't controversial, his Nike commercials were "jokey" and a play on Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. If Nike was interested in promoting a product parents and the community would approve of and to avoid backlash, why not use Robinson as the ultimate role model?
Robinson is a family man, devoted to his wife, and puts his kids first. He was a positive reflection of what a man should be but this was never promoted during his playing career. Instead you had "Father of the Century" Shawn Kemp. Though a beast on the court during his early years, he is also known for fathering several kids with several different women.
There are many more examples of how Stern, the NBA, and sports companies failed to capitalize on Robinson's positive example during his playing career. From Magic Johnson and Nick Van Exel shoving referees, Michael Jordan's gambling troubles and him cheating on his wife, or Allen Iverson's antics. Again David Robinson was sitting there as a shining example for the NBA to promote and the NBA and Stern failed.
In Robinson, the league had what they needed to show it wasn't made up of unsavory characters. But because he wasn't controversial, going in and out of jail, dealing in drugs, refused to embrace the position of a role-model, or disrespected the game, he was labeled as soft, boring, and not marketable.
Stern should be reminded what he said back in 1995. David Robinson was and still is the NBA's dream player when it comes to commitment to team, community, and emblematic of what current players should strive to be on and off the court.
- NBA.com - The links are heavy this week with David Robinson and Bruce Bowen articles. This one about David Robinson sums up his career nicely. There will never be another player in the NBA like Robinson. I feel luck to have witnessed him in person.
- Express-News - Buck Harvey gives Bruce Bowen a nice farewell and recommends retiring his number.
- RetireNumber12 - Speaking of retiring Bowen's number, this website is all about it. They are supposed to have a petition up in the next week about the subject.
- Spurs.com - The official announcement that Bowen is retiring.
- Express-News - The 1996-1997 season was painful on many levels with Robinson missing most of the season, but it worked out in the best way possible. Some might call it fate.
- Twitpic - This picture of Ginobili and Oberto is priceless. Ginobili looks the same but Oberto looks so different without the long hair.
- ESPN - This one is older from Robinson's last season. Still, it is nice to go back and read about Robinson's last go around and the praise he deservedly received.
- Dime - They ask the question: who is better, Chris Paul or Tony Parker? Paul obviously has better numbers but Parker has performed better when it matters. Interesting debate and one that I don't think people would have had a year ago.
- Sports Illustrated - Another older article, this one from April, discusses about the class act that Robinson is. I know many people have similar stories as Steve Aschburner, but I never get tired of hearing them.
- Spurs.com - Top 10 plays of last season.
- PTR - Should we worry as much about back-to-back games?
- 48MoH - Graydon Gordian revisits some of the posts 48MoH has had about Bowen. I loved the article about Bowen and the evolution of the boxscore, which is something I feel strongly about. I love how John Hollinger must preface every article about PER with the fact that it undervalues players like Bowen. You cannot quantify what he brings to the court.
- 48MoH - Comparing Bowen to Lawrence Taylor, pointing out how two defensive players were able to change a game.
- PTR - Meet Marcus Haislip. I'm not sure what to expect out of Mr. Haislip, but I'm intrigues nonetheless.
Bruce Bowen's retirement was probably met with cheers from around the league, including both opposing players and fans.
The cheers were probably the loudest in Phoenix.
With Bowen retiring, it is only fitting to look back and try to decide his legacy. Unfortunately it is a legacy that is up for debate. On one hand we have an eight-time all-defensive team player who was one of the game's premier lock-down defenders of his generation. Kobe Bryant routinely said that Bowen defended him better than any other player. On the other hand we have players such as Amare Stoudemire, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki calling Bowen a dirty player, which is the perception that many fans around the league have.
It's a difficult question to decide.
First, I'll agree that Bowen sometimes toed the line that divides dirty from hard-nosed defense. He stayed as close to his man as he could at all times. Sometimes that resulted in him coming too close. To determine if what he did was dirty we have to determine if there was intent. There have been several high profile incidences involving Bowen. There was the mix up when he kneed Nash and the supposed purposeful kicking of Stoudemire. Several players have accused him of putting his foot under them when they shoot. He also had an altercation with Chris Paul that led to Bowen's suspension, ending his consecutive game streak at 500. I challenge you to watch this view of the altercation and tell me that Bowen kicked Paul.
I, and no other Spurs fan, can deny these incidences happened. However, there are a few reasons why I never viewed Bowen as a dirty player.
First, I believe that the landscape of the game has changed so much in the past few decades that the league as a whole has become soft. The NBA of the 80's, which some people loved and some hated, was a brand of basketball that was more physical. Players were not afraid of physical play and incidences like Bowen's were more common. Now the NBA does not allow players to hand check and has cracked down on physical play. Just look back at the last postseason and the absurd amount of technicals. Players, and fans for the matter, are not accustomed to the nature of basketball that Bowen plays.
Second, throughout the 500 consecutive games Bowen played, only a handful of "dirty" plays can be identified. I have a hard time believing a dirty player would selectively choose five or six times to commit a dangerous, dirty play. These dirty plays would be more common and easy to pinpoint. Instead, some fans point out single moments. For example Suns fans point out the Nash and Stoudemire incidences.
Bowen is the type of defender all fans should want on their team, and I believe that all fans would have embraced Bowen if he was on their team. He was not blessed with exceptional height, speed or strength. Instead, he succeeded through hard work and focusing all his energy on stopping the opponent. He wanted to land as close as he could to a player to push them out of their comfort zone. A few times he landed too close, but I don't think it was an intentional act with the purpose to injure. Bowen and Kobe probably had as many high profile match ups as any two players over the last decade, yet we have never heard Kobe accuse Bowen of being a dirty player. In fact, one could argue that Kobe is a dirtier player than Bowen based on the number of suspensions he has had for punching or attempting to punch players.
Put this in perspective. In 2000 Kobe received a one game suspension for throwing a punch at Chris Childs. In 2002, a two game suspension for throwing a punch at Reggie Miller. In 2005 he received two more games for throwing an elbow at Mike Miller.
I'm not trying to turn this into a rant against Kobe because I think he is an amazing player, but I want to show that opponents and fans have taken moments out of Bowen's career and tried to paint him as a dirty player game in and game out when the same treatment could be applied to any number of players. Steve Aschburner of Sports Illustrated had an interesting article about Kobe earlier this year where he called Kobe a dirty player. However, he brings up a great point that a player is dirty when they commit a dirty play but only for that game. Bowen played many games without any altercation and one cannot claim he is a dirty player.
Aschburner writes, "Judge players by what they do, when it comes to such chicanery and mini-mayhem. If Bowen or Bell or Nocioni goes an entire game without incident, well, then he isn't dirty, at least for a night. If Boy Scout Brandon Roy puts a knee into someone's solar plexus and a smirk suggests it wasn't an accident, then that's dirty. Easy."
I think that's a good idea. Do not try to describe a player's career and legacy by a handful of plays out of the hundreds of thousands game he played. Take a look at their entire career. What Bowen has accomplished is what all young athletes should take note of. He out worked his peers to become the defender he did.
When we look back and determine Bowen's legacy, I hope we can see Bowen for what he was - this generation's greatest lockdown defender year in and year out.
Recently Project Spurs have looked at Tim Duncan's and Tony Parker’s top five games, now it is time to look at Manu Ginobili. The Argentine elicits mixed reactions from around the league. Many people dislike him for flopping and embellishing contact, but it is hard to deny his many unique talents. Ginobili might be the only player in the NBA that you cannot defend a certain way to slow him down. He wants to go left and everybody knows that, so defenders try to force him right. That makes no difference, however, because he is just as efficient going either direction. Play off Ginobili and he will bury the opponent with threes. Try to play physical with him and watch him destroy you from the free throw line. It is a shame that his career has been slowed down lately by injuries but he cannot play any other way besides all out.
5. Spurs v. Sonics 5/17/2005 Semifinals, Game 5– The upstart Sonics were a surprisingly tough team in 2005 led by Ray Allen and his three point shooting. The Spurs won the first two games of the Semifinals before the Sonics won the next two. That meant the Spurs returned to San Antonio for the pivotal game five a must win game. They did not want to head back to Seattle with their season on the line.
Ginobili came through with one of his best games, finishing with 39 points on 10-of-15 shooting, 4-of-6 on threes, 15-of-17 on free throws, six assists, four rebounds, two steals and only one turnover. A big part of Ginobili’s game is finding a way to the free throw line where he shoots over 80%. He used this ability to help the Spurs win the game and take control of the series.
4. Spurs v. Suns 1/21/2005– The Spurs were down by 17 points in the fourth quarter before coming back to defeat the Suns 128-123 in overtime. That was the Suns sixth consecutive loss and Steve Nash’s return the lineup after injury makes the win more satisfying.
Ginobili scored a career high 48 points on 16-of-22 shooting, 5-of-7 on threes, 11-of-12 on free throws, five rebounds and six assists. What made the Spurs games with the Suns so great was that the stars always showed up. I think the Suns have appeared on these top five lists more than any other team. I know the two teams have played often over the past decade, but the Spurs "Big Three" did their share of damage to the Suns. There was no stopping him this January night.
3. Spurs v. Hawks 2/21/2007– Yes, I know that he was playing the lowly Hawks. I don’t care. Anytime a player scores 24 straight points I consider it a great game. Think about that for a second. No other player for the Spurs had a steal and a breakaway layup, was fouled and hit a free throw, or tipped a missed shot in.
He finished the game with 40 points on 12-of-22 shooting, 14-of-15 free throws, eight rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block. This was an outstanding display of offensive talent. I remember not seeing this game and just being in awe when I heard about Ginobili scoring 24 straight points. I still am.
2. Spurs v. Suns 5/18/2007 Semifinals, Game 6– I know the Spurs and Suns met in the 2008 playoffs with the Spurs winning 4-1. To me the end of the Suns era of run-and-gun success came in the 2007 playoffs. Like Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, Ginobili has had his share of great games against the Suns. In game 6 he was instrumental in closing down the Suns.
Ginobili had another highly efficient game, finishing with 33 points on 11-of-17 shooting, 4-of-7 threes, 11 rebounds, six assists and four steals. He has always been a good rebounder for a shooting guard, and he had four offensive boards in the game. His success on the glass comes not from size or strength but from tenacity and understanding of the game.
1. Spurs v. Cavaliers 2/13/2008– LeBron James is the one who is supposed to have 46 points, eight assists, five rebounds, three steals and one block. Instead it was Ginobili who dominated the game. Even though this game came in the middle of the season, I cannot deny that this was Ginobili’s best game of his career.
He was two points off his career high but his efficiency was incredible. He shot 15-of-20, made 8-of-11 threes and 8-of-9 free throws. I contend that no player can score with the efficiency and variety that Ginobili does. He can shoot from behind the arc, finish at the basket and get to the free throw line. Now, these attributes are not exclusive to Ginobili but the style and the way he scores is unique. When people think of the best offensive player in the league they think of Kobe or LeBron, but Ginobili is in their league when he is on. This game was a prime example.
Please leave your comments about this list and chime in on other great Manu games you can remember.
Yesterday Project Spurs was the first to report on the possibility of Bruce Bowen announcing his retirement from the NBA. As expected, Bruce Bowen will announce his retirement from the NBA at a press conference scheduled for 2 p.m. today in San Antonio.
The guys at 48 Minutes of Hell recently posted their thoughts on why Bowen's jersey should hang among past great Spurs players in the AT&T Center and Project Spurs would like to echo those sentiments.
When it came down to doing the "dirty work," Bowen gladly took it on, whether it was guarding the opposing team's best perimeter scorer, point guards, or having a knack to disrupt the opposing teams defense. In an era of flash and style in the NBA, Bowen wasn't afraid to do the little things that don't show up on the stat sheet and it was this workman-like attitude which helped the Spurs win three of their four NBA titles.
Though known for being an aggressive defender, it came with a price. Bowen developed a reputation of being "dirty" and this may have been the reason he never won the Defensive Player of the Year award. We saw him scuffle with the likes of Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Vince Carter, Chris Paul and even with Michael Finley when he was with Dallas. But was this reputation deserved? No. Hard-nosed, tenacious defense is not "dirty" and when arguably the game's best player, Kobe Bryant, publically admits he respects Bowen's defense, that speaks volumes.
Always improving his game, he developed a 3-point shot later on in his career and had the ability to hit the key "3" when the game was on the line. Ask the Lakers in the 2003 playoffs.
Bowen represented hard-work, toughness, a willingness to do the little-things for the betterment of the team that made the Spurs what they are today. For these reasons and much more, number 12 should hang in the AT&T Center.
Please leave us your thoughts on whether the Spurs should retire number 12 and your thoughts and memories on Bowen's career with the Spurs. Also please vote on whether his jersey should be retired.
According to the Chris and Jason show on ESPN 1250 in San Antonio, Bruce Bowen will hold a press conference tomorrow at Yardley's Spa announcing his retirement.
It was reported that he declined an offer by the Celtics this offseason and with the Spurs giving roster spots to Malik Hairston and a few of their other offseason acquisitions, Bowen would likely not find any playing time behind Richard Jefferson and Michael Finley and the Spurs are already over the luxury tax.
There is a chance Bowen could come out of retirement if the Spurs suffer an injury or need a defender in the playoffs.
The press conference is slated for 2 p.m. tomorrow and we'll be sure to update you as we have more information.