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SI Flashback: NBA Finals

1999: SPURS OVER KNICKS 4-1
Finals MVP: Tim Duncan, Spurs

For the first time in their existence, the San Antonio Spurs, led by the dynamic duo of David Robinson and Tim Duncan, won the NBA title. However, it was Avery Johnson who hit the winning basket in Game 5 as he nailed a corner jump shot with 47 seconds remaining to give the Spurs a 78-77 victory.

Snapshot from Mission Accomplished

By David Robinson with Phil Taylor

  June 13, 1977 Manny Millan
Euphoria: It's going to take a while for me to really comprehend that myself. After we stopped the Knicks on their last possession and the buzzer sounded, all those people poured onto the floor. Everybody was running around and hugging everybody else, but I was just dazed. My mind was saying, Is it over? One minute you're still climbing that mountain, and the next minute everything you've been working for is right there in your possession. The suddenness of it can throw you for a loop. That scene was a tremendous thrill, but I've been at this for so long -- 10 years in the NBA -- that all my emotion just wasn't going to come out in one moment. I still have to get used to the idea that there's nobody left to beat. It's going to take me a month to exhale.

 
They Said It
"Except for Tim, we're a collection of guys who people thought were lacking some quality or other, but our coach, Gregg Popovich, didn't buy into reputations. Pop made up his own mind about each of us, and he deserves a lot of credit for that." —Robinson

Silent assassin: It's also a great feeling to have Tim Duncan by my side. He's obviously the best player in the league. Tim was phenomenal against New York, and his Finals MVP award was well deserved. The Knicks had no answer for him, and I'm not sure Patrick Ewing, if he had been healthy, would have slowed him down much. Tim's like me in that he doesn't show his emotions too much, but trust me, he was hyped-up for Game 5. You could see it in his eyes, in the way he moved. Don't ever make the mistake of thinking that he's not intense.

Totally legit: Some people said that whichever team won the title should have an asterisk beside its name, because of the shortened season and the fact that Michael Jordan and the Bulls broke up. I say no way. We went 15-2 in the playoffs, we beat everybody we needed to beat, and we beat them mighty convincingly. Would I like to have played the Bulls? Yes. I think we would have matched up so well with them, especially in the frontcourt. I can't say we definitely would have beaten them, but I don't think you can say that they had a clear advantage over us, either.

Issue date: July 5, 1999

 


 
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