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. Today we look at #8.
The history starts with Ozell Jones
What better way to start with jersey #8 than with the first player to wear it. In college, Ozell Jones made the Elite 8 as part of the 1981 Wichita State Shockers. Unfortunately, an irregularity with his high school transcript deemed him ineligible. As it turns out, his high school did not calculate his GPA using all courses and he did not meet the 2.0 minimum eligibility. Jones fought the case and then he took a year off before transferring to Cal State Fullerton to play for the Titans.
In the 1984 NBA Draft, he was chosen 90th overall during the 4th round by the San Antonio Spurs. The 6’11” center spent his rookie season coming off the bench behind Artis Gilmore. Jones averaged 3.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 13.3 minutes of play over his 67 games. But that was not enough, and the Spurs waived him two days before 1985-86 season commenced.
Ozell Jones spent that season in Naples, Italy until he joined the Los Angeles Clippers late in the season. He only played three games with the Clippers and continued his decade-long career in the Continental Basketball Association as a member of the Cincinnati Slammers, Quad City Thunder, Tulsa Fast Breakers, and the Tri-City Chinook. He also played for the Miami Tropics of the United States Basketball League in 1987 and 1988.
In 1990 while with the Tulsa Fast Breakers, Jones was the blocks leader for the CBA.
After retiring from basketball, Jones ran a big and tall men’s apparel store in California.
In 2006, Jones was found dead in his apartment from bleeding due to a gunshot wound. Years later, the case remains unsolved.
Next up: Paul Pressey spends two seasons with the Silver & Black
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