This year the Spurs are celebrating their 50th season in San Antonio. There have been many highs and a few lows. One trademark of the San Antonio Spurs has been their culture and consistency. The keys to those qualities lie in their players. Always noted for development as well as being ahead of the curve on scouting international players, the Spurs way has made them one of the most successful organizations of all time. As we look back on the Silver and Black, we recognize the top 50 players in franchise history. Each day, we will move up the countdown.
17 - Alvin Robertson
Robertson began his career drafted 7th by the San Antonio Spurs in 1984, highly regarded as one of the most talented groups in NBA history. Do you know who went before him? Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, and Charles Barkley. Do you know who followed him? Kevin Willis and John Stockton. Impressive company, to say the least.
An argument could be made that had the Spurs been a more defensive-minded team in the 80s, Alvin Robertson might have had the number 21 retired in his honor.
For starters, the young shooting guard made the All-Star Team four times. Yet, that is not his most notable honor. Alvin Robertson was awarded the first ever Most Improved Player Award in 1986, which was quite a year for Robertson as he made his first NBA All-Star game, as well as the All-NBA Second Team as well as being named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Robertson lead the league in steals that year, becoming the first Spur to win the award. Despite being named DPOY, he somehow only made the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. From 1986-91, Robertson garnered All-Defensive First or Second Team honors each season.
Steals were his forte, so much so that he was the NBA steals leader in 1986, 1987, and 1991. He tallied a striking 105 consecutive games with a steal during his days as a Spur, a stat only to be bettered by Chris Paul some two decades later. Robertson’s steals per game average of 2.71 is the best in NBA history, and he ranks 9th all time in steals with 2,112.
Alvin Robertson is in an elite group of four: Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Nate Thurmond and Robertson are the only NBA players to record a quadruple-double. He is the only player to do so with steals as one of the four categories and the first to record a quadruple-double in a regulation game. He’s also the only guard to pull off the elusive quadruple-double.
He is the only player in NBA history to record 10 steals in 4 different games. With defensive skills so remarkable, his 16.2 points per game average during his Spurs tenure was gravy. Together with Johnny Moore, the “Twin Terrors” destroyed defenses night after night.
With David Robinson’s first season looming, a rebuild began and Robertson was traded to Milwaukee along with Greg Anderson for power forward Terry Cummings.
Unfortunately, off the court Robertson has been plagued with legal problems stemming from multiple incidents involving domestic abuse. He has been arrested and spent time in prison on more than one occasion, which explains why he is not one of the most celebrated players in Spurs history.
Next up: Everyone’s favorite sandwich hunter.
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