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Spurs 50 for 50, Number 24: Boris Diaw

San Antonio adds another frenchman to their talented collection of international players.

Memphis Grizzlies v San Antonio Spurs Photos by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

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.

24 - Boris Diaw

2014 NBA Finals - Game Four Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

When most Spurs fans think about the 2014 NBA Championship, it is probably highlighted by memories of Kawhi Leonard and (to a lesser extent) Danny Green receiving the torch from Tim Duncan and Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

But the truth is, in many ways, the unsung hero of those Finals was Boris Diaw.

The Spurs took Game 1 when the air condition at the AT&T center went out, rendering LeBron James available at the end when he was needed most to steal a win in San Antonio. The Heat bounced back in Game 2 taking home court advantage back to Miami. And that’s when Popovich does what he does best — assess and make adjustments.

For Game 3, Boris was inserted into the starting lineup. This was a change that yielded immediate benefits. As the story goes, Diaw grew up playing with his brothers and he learned fast that he got more playing time when he passed the ball than when he shot. This style led to him leading all players in total assists with 29 for the series. He was only second in rebounds behind Tim Duncan. During that postseason his minutes increased as well. If Diaw wasn’t a fan favorite before the playoffs, he certainly was as they progressed.

His calm, cool demeanor on the court paired with his off-court personae. One of the coffee crew (he had an espresso machine in the locker room), Diaw made waves off the court as a photographer, releasing a National Geographic children’s book reflecting his time on safari.

Diaw re-signed with the Spurs to a reported three-year, $22 million contract, but was traded before the third year of his contract for the rights to Oliver Hanlan.

Bobo has been seen on social media traveling the world by boat, a point Tony Parker made in jest when asked if Diaw was attending an event with him.

Still active in basketball, Diaw most recently was president of the Metropolitans 92, a French-league professional team.

Next Up: A polished Brazilian big man bolsters San Antonio’s frontcourt rotation.

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