In honor of the NBA’s 74-year history, ESPN has been doing a series of “Top 74” rankings. They already did the top 74 uniforms, where the Spurs received a little love, and now they’ve moved on to the top 74 players of all time, beginning with players 74-41.
Three former Spurs who have their jerseys retired in San Antonio made the list, plus several others who played for the Spurs at some point during their careers, either for brief stints or outside the prime eras they were known for. First, the longtime Spurs:
70. Tony Parker
2001-18 San Antonio Spurs; 2018-19 Charlotte Hornets
15.5 PPG, 5.6 APG
Parker was a relatively small point guard who did a lot of his damage in the paint, using his quickness to penetrate and his pretty, feathery, teardrop floater to finish over the trees. The Spurs tried to replace Parker by wooing Jason Kidd in free agency after the Frenchman started for a title team in his second season. He persevered and became a pillar for a franchise that won three more rings.
58. Manu Ginobili
2002-18 San Antonio Spurs
13.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.3 Steals PG, 1.4 3s PG
Ginobili is one of the most creative players to ever step onto a basketball court. A winner of four championships with the Spurs, the Argentine also won a gold medal for his country at the 2004 Summer Olympics — the only time the United States hasn’t won gold since NBA players began participating in 1992. Ginobili popularized the Eurostep in the NBA, and his willingness to come off the bench for the Spurs played a big part in both the longevity of his career and San Antonio’s longevity as a championship contender.
47. George Gervin
1972-74 Virginia Squires (ABA); 1974-76 (ABA), 1976-85 San Antonio Spurs; 1985-86 Chicago Bulls
25.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG
One thing “The Iceman” could do was finger roll, but that iconic shot was just one trick in his deep repertoire. Gervin managed to make the unorthodox look so smooth, scoring prolifically and efficiently on a shot diet that consisted primarily of off-dribble jumpers launched from all kinds of creative angles, funky floaters and, of course, finger rolls flipped over the outstretched arms of would-be shot-blockers. He won four scoring titles and shot 50.4% from the floor over his ABA and NBA career.
Other former Spurs players who made the list include Artis Gilmore (74th, with the Spurs 1982-87), Pau Gasol (65th, 2016-19), Dennis Rodman (62nd, 1993-95), Tracy McGrady (52nd, 2013 — yes, this counts), and Dominique Wilkins (46th, 1996-97).
What do you think of the ratings so far? Is anyone rated too high, too low, just right? Feel free to discuss in the comments below, and there’s no doubt we’ll be visiting this again for at least two more players.