San Antonio is without a doubt a city, but it’s not a particularly large one. Local citizens, government officials, and business leaders might cheerfully point out that only Dallas has more citizens that San Antonio over any other city in the state. However, the more accurate measure of an area’s size is the metropolitan population. In that perspective, the 2 million citizens in and around San Antonio is roughly a third of what you would find around Houston or Dallas/Ft. Worth, and not that far ahead of Austin.
Still, for being deemed a ‘small market’ in terms of the national economy, the city of San Antonio has earned world-class respect in the realm of sports. That has happened because of their professional NBA basketball franchise, the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs first made a name for themselves in the 1980s centered around ‘The Admiral,’ former Navy star David Robinson. He was a perpetual All-Star, playing hard and well on both ends of the court.
Later in his career, he suffered a back injury that cost him most of a year of basketball, and the franchise suffered mightily without him. They lost so many games that they missed the playoffs and scored a lottery pick. They used it to draft Tim Duncan from Wake Forest, an ACC school in North Carolina. When David Robinson returned, the two of them lead their team, under the guidance of coach Greg Poppovich, to an NBA title.
Robinson would soon retire, but the franchise started making a name for itself in finding undiscovered and especially international talent through the draft or trades. International players like Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker became multiple-time All-Stars alongside Duncan, as the group went on to win another four championships over five more trips to the Finals.
Duncan has since retired, and Parker and Ginobli are in the twilight of their careers. However, in the post-Jordan era of basketball, the Spurs have tied the Lakers for the most rings since. On top of that, their overall record since 1999 is the highest single-team winning percentage in any of the major four sports on the continent, including baseball, hockey, and football.
With a stunning draft steal and MVP candidate in Kawhi Leonard and Poppovich still at the helm, San Antonio is still a free agent destination and likely to be in title consideration for some years to come.