The Spurs current arena has been given a name change. The Frost Bank Center will kick off its first season as the Spurs home with the additional fanfare of Victor Wembanyama. The Frost Bank Center was formerly called the AT&T Center, and prior to that the SBC Center.
But this arena located at 1 AT&T Center Parkway (will the street also change names, I’ll have to look into that one) was not the only home of the Spurs there have been two other structures. And depending on your age and particular architectural preference, you may have memories of a different team and a different time.
HemisFair Arena (1973-1993)
I started my tenure with Pounding The Rock writing about my first memories of the HemisFair Arena. Hard to believe it’s been six years since I joined these guys. I think I may have said it best then:
In 1984, during their first ever losing season, that huge room could look so empty. But the energy of HemisFair never felt empty. Down on the floor, there were the Baseline Bums, dancing and cheering (no matter the state of the game). Scattered throughout the arena, groups of fans were peppered among the 16,057 seats. Parents introducing their children to the highest-level of local entertainment; eating hot dogs, sharing boxes of popcorn. Co-workers celebrating a night out. Season ticket holders standing tall. And way up high — almost touching the ceiling — in the seats set aside special, single rows of young, uniformed military officers sipped beer from clear plastic cups- their presence a representation of San Antonio itself. Their enthusiasm barreling down. Their gratitude ever-present. No Jumbotron to better see the highlights and replays. But they were enthusiastic all the same. If you went to get a snack you could walk the entire perimeter of HemisFair and not bump into anyone. This was the calm before the storm we now know today. This is how the Spurs became the SPURS!
For a 10-year-old boy, there was no greater thrill, and seeing footage of those early games throughout the 50th anniversary, I was truly taken back to exactly how I became a fan of the San Antonio Spurs and why I still sit here writing about them day after day.
The AlamoDome was a bit of an odd bird. Built to be a football field for a team that would never come, the Spurs moved into the space in 1993 and split the structure with a ginormous blue curtain. Sentimentally, it is the home to the Spurs first ever NBA title, as well as the celebration spot after the river parade for the subsequent titles as well.
Personally, I went to some games here in college. My buddy Jason’s dad had amazing seats and we were yelling “Worm” at Dennis Rodman close enough that he turned around and made eye contact. Seeing David Robinson in his prime makes this spot especially sentimental.
Last year, my daughter and I were tow of the 68,323 spectators last January 13th when the Spurs played there as part of the 50th anniversary season.
SBC Center (2002-2006)/AT&T Center (2006-2023)
This is where the Spurs have celebrated their last four NBA titles. Generationally speaking, it is the location most familiar to fans. There are a bevy of fans who have never known another location, just as they didn’t know a time before Tim Duncan. The center was built right next door to the Freeman Coliseum, where I remember going as a child for the rodeo. It felt like you had left town back then.
Since covering games, I have spent more time in the (I’m going to call it AT&T Center as it was throughout my time with PtR), walked through more spaces, seen nooks and crannies, interviewed my heroes, cheered on my team, and even been on the court for those awesome post game free throws.
The AT&T Center is where my daughter became a fan (daddy-daughter date nights are often paired with home games) and my pride in the team that has always put community and culture at the forefront of their franchise has broadened. I have spent many great years here and look forward to many more.
Definitely great memories of all spaces.
What memories do you have of the various locales the Spurs have called home? Take a look back before we kick off a new — and hopefully historic — run.
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