Before the #21 became synonymous with Tim Duncan, another player made a case for having the number retired.
Alvin Robertson was a force. During the dark era of the Spurs, Robertson was a beacon of hope during four Spurs losing seasons in the mid to late 80s.
Robertson is one of only four NBA players to earn a quadruple-double. Of the other three (Nate Thurmond, Hakeem Olajuwon, and David Robinson), Robertson is the only player to do so as a guard. He also hit the double-digits in points, assists, rebounds, and steals. The big men earned their fourth category on blocks versus steals.
Steals was Robertson’s thing. As a defensive-minded player, he led the league in steals in 1986, 1987 and 1991 and holds the top career steals-per-game average with 2.71.
Robertson was a four-time NBA All-Star participating in 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1991. In 1987 and 1988, he was the only Spur player to be invited, keeping that streak that alive two more seasons.
In addition to his first All-Star appearance in 1986, Alvin also collected the inaugural NBA Most Improved Player Award and won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, the only player to do so.
After his time in San Antonio, Robertson scored the inaugural points for the brand new Toronto Raptors in 1995.
The infamous triple-double:
Unfortunately, Robertson faced many personal demons and legal battles which has distanced him from a franchise often considered the gold standard.
Robertson still resides in San Antonio and takes pride in his years playing with the Silver & Black.
Happy birthday, Alvin. Stay safe, be healthy, and have a wonderful day.
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