When I joined Pounding The Rock, I pitched a project that would cover every player who ever wore a Spurs jersey. Not equally, by any means, but each jersey would be identified numerically by the players who wore it.
There is a significance to the numbers of jerseys as it pertains to the five NBA Championships that have been won by the San Antonio Spurs.
There is only one jersey number associated with all five San Antonio Spurs NBA Championships- #21. Tim Duncan. He is coincidentally also the only player to be involved in all five titles.
There are five numbers associated with four Spurs titles. #9 (Tony Parker) and #20 Manu Ginobili, as well as #2 (Jaren Jackson-1999, Nazr Mohammed- 2005, Melvin Ely- 2007, and Kawhi Leonard- 2014), #4 (Steve Kerr- 1999, Sean Marks- 2005, Michael Finley- 2007, and Danny Green- 2014), and #11 (Brandon Williams- 1999, Mike Wilks- 2005, Jacque Vaughn- 2007, Jeff Ayers- 2014).
The next set of jersey numbers are those associated with three of the Spurs NBA titles.
Those numbers are 3, 5, 8, 12, 17, and 33.
No one wore #3 in the Spurs inaugural 1999 NBA Championship, but starting in 1986, the jersey began its run. Stephen Jackson wore it in 2003. Glenn Robinson wore it in 2005. And Marco Belinelli wore it during the historic 2014 NBA Finals.
In between the 2005 and 2014 title runs, George Hill most notably donned #3.
Since the 2014 NBA Championship, one player has been given #3 each and every season. It seems to have a short lifespan for a player.
Ray McCallum 2015-2016
Ray McCallum, Jr. started his NBA career with the Sacramento Kings where he played his first two season. He was brought in to fill the 3rd string point guard position vacated by Cory Joseph’s big payday that sent him to Toronto. The Spurs gave Sacramento their 2016 2nd round draft pick (which became Isaiah Cousins).
McCallum spent time between San Antonio and Austin. He played in 31 games averaging less than nine minutes per game, less than half what he played in Sacramento. He was waived on February 29, 2016. Ray McCallum was most recently with the Shanghai Sharks in the Chinese Basketball Association, but then this news:
Dewayne Dedmon 2016-2017
At the end of the 2015-2016 season, the Spurs lost Tim Duncan to retirement and Boban Marjanovic to the Detroit Pistons (who now had a penchant for grifting Spurs big men). PATFO brought in Pau Gasol, who was no spring chicken, and Dewayne Dedmon, who was a breathe of fresh air at the center spot.
Unfortunately, this lone season in San Antonio pulling $3M would be his last as Atlanta came in with 2-year/$14M deal. Dedmon continued to build his nest egg in Sacramento two years later with a 3-year/$40M deal with the Sacramento Kings. His relationship with the Kings was sullied and earlier this season, Dedmon was fined $50,000 for publicly requesting a trade.
Brandon Paul 2017-2018
If Dewayne Dedmon had a rough road to the NBA, Brandon Paul’s was rocky terrain through and through. After a disappointing unfruitful 2013 NBA Draft party, BP3 headed to Russia where he faced language barriers, an uninvited feeling from the head coach and team, and even racism.
He continued to bounce between D-League and foreign countries, attending Summer League sessions and working out with over half of the NBA teams before the San Antonio Spurs signed him to a two-year deal valued at just over $3M.
The Spurs brought in Paul to fill the roll vacated by Jonathon Simmons. Little did Brandon Paul know that an injury to Kawhi Leonard would leave more minutes available for the swingman.
His numbers did not fare well and the Spurs chose not to continue with his second year. He was waived on July 31, 2018. He has since played in China and Greece.
Quincy Pondexter 2018-2019
Q-Pon joined the Spurs as the finale to a somewhat injury-riddled NBA career. Originally drafted 26th in 2010 by OKC, he was traded to the New Orleans Hornets where he spent his rookie season. Another trade at the end of the season sent Quincy to Memphis.
After re-signing with the Grizzlies, Pondexter spent part of the 2013-14 season out with a tarsal navicular stress fracture in his right foot. In 2015, Pondexter had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and was set to return in November, but had to have a second surgery that took him out for the remainder of the season. A third surgery to that same left knee kept him out yet another season. Quincy Pondexter ended up having seven knee surgeries. In addition to the consistent knee issues, Pondexter faced Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcis aureus, a life threatening infection.
It was a shame to see Quincy leave the Spurs at the end of the season. He never got the minutes and wasn’t able to establish himself into the rotation.
Since completing his lone season with the Spurs, he hasn’t been playing basketball.
Keldon Johnson 2019-present
Keldon is the light at the end of the Kawhi Leonard tunnel. The 29th draft pick in the 2019 NBA Draft was the third facet from Toronto (along with DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl) in the monumental trade that rid the Spurs of Leonard while adding Danny Green as collateral damage.
Keldon spent his rookie season with the Spurs as most do by playing with the Austin Spurs.
With only nine games during the shortened pandemic season, Keldon was still able to make waves with the San Antonio Spurs.
Assuming Johnson returns next season, he will be the first to add a consecutive season as #3 since fellow teammate Belinelli did it in the last championship run.
This concludes #3.
Next up: Horry and Cory, the legend of #5 revealed.
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