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Keita Bates-Diop is the first #31 in fourteen years

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There’s a some names you might remember . . . and one every Spurs fan should know.

2020-21 San Antonio Spurs Content Day Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

You know Lochmann and Nater, Restani and Wittman,

Jones, McNamara, Van Exel, and Vincent.

But do you recall, the most famous #31 of all?

Fans found Malik Rose most dear

Affection for him always shows

Played with heart and with grit

He earned his rank among the pros . . .

Then again, you might not have know some of these guys at all.

Riney Lochmann wore #31 for the Dallas Chaparrals from 1968-1970. If you don’t know who the Chaparrals are, then we’re going to need to have an entirely different conversation.

Greg Wittman also wore #31, but for the Texas Chaparrals. Same conversation as above with some minor tweaks.

Swen Nater was the first San Antonio Spur to don the jersey. He played with the ABA Spurs for two season from 1973-1975. He was named the 1974 ABA Rookie of the Year as well as making the ABA All-Star team both seasons while in San Antonio.

Kevin Restani also spent two seasons with the Spurs from 1989-1981.

Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs Photo by NBA Photos/NBAE via Getty Images

Mark McNamara had his best statistical season in 1983-1984 while playing with the Spurs. The previous season he won an NBA title with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Shelton Jones was chosen 27th overall in the second round of the 1988 NBA Draft. He played seven games for the Spurs before moving on to Golden State for two games and eventually Philadelphia for the remainder of the season. He was chosen by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1989 expansion draft but was waived. Despite his lone season in the NBA, Jones carved out a sixteen year career traveling throughout the Continental Basketball League, United States Basketball League, Europe, Israel, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.

Jay Vincent also played a short stint with the San Antonio Spurs during the 1988-1989 season playing small forward for two dozen games.

Malik Rose 1997-2005

San Antonio Spurs v Charlotte Hornets

Two-time NBA Champion Malik Rose was a fan favorite during his time in San Antonio for his hustle, spirit, and ability to frustrate much larger opposing big men.

Still popular with the Spurs fans, Rose has worked with the Atlanta Hawks since 2015 and eventually became the GM of the Erie Bay Hawks, where he was named the 2018 G-League Basketball Executive of the Year.

Nick Van Exel

Sacramento Kings v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Chris Birck/NBAE via Getty Images

The last player to wear #31 also retired a Spur. Nick the Quick only spent one season in San Antonio, but the 1998 Rookie of the Year came off the bench in 63 of his 65 games with the Silver & Black before moving into his current career of coaching.

Keita Bates-Diop

2020-21 San Antonio Spurs Content Day Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

Two-way acquisition Keita Bates-Diop has signed on to the San Antonio/Austin Spurs and will be the newest #31, and the first in more than a decade.

Best wishes, Keita. Make us proud.


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