• Got Rings? Thanks to Tim Duncan These 10 Players Do
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  • One of the more delightful oddities of championship dynasties is seeing the names of those who get rings often for just being along for the ride. Think M.L. Carr on the ‘80s Celtics, Cliff Levingston on the ‘90s Bulls, or Greg Foster on the ‘00s Lakers. They contributed far less than their Hall of Fame teammates, but still get their names on banners. They’re immortals too, if slightly less so.

    The Spurs may not be a dynasty in Phil Jackson’s eyes, but it’s hard to classify them as anything else, having won four titles in eight years from ‘99 to ‘07 and being six wins away from a fifth. They’ve played in nine Western Conference Finals in the Tim Duncan era, which is the very definition of continued excellence. Over that span, the roster has been consistent at the top and in near constant flux at the bottom—which means Tim Duncan has been responsible for dealing out more garish jewelry than Jacob. From career-long role players to stars in decline, these are just 10 Spurs champions.

    Follow me on Twitter @RussBengtson

  • Jerome Kersey

    Teams Played For: 6

    Spur: 1998-’00

    Championship(s): 1999

    Final Season: 2000-’01

    Jerome Kersey had been to the Finals twice—both times with the Trail Blazers—before signing with the Spurs in 1998. After 11 seasons as a high-flying complement to Clyde Drexler in Portland, the 30-something Kersey would finish out his career playing for five teams in six seasons after being selected by the Toronto Raptors in the expansion draft (he never played for them—released in October, he signed with the Warriors two weeks later). Kersey didn’t start a single game for the ‘99 Spurs, but played in 45 of the 50 regular-season games, averaging 3.2 points and 2.9 boards in just 15 minutes a night.

     

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  • Stephen Jackson

    Teams Played For: 8

    Spur: 2001-’03, 2013

    Championship(s): 2003

    Final Season: 2013-’14

    Stephen Jackson wasn’t the Spurs usual reclamation project, but then again he wasn’t the usual NBA player either. A McDonalds All-American alongside Kobe Bryant and Tim Thomas, Jackson didn’t make his NBA debut until 2000 when he broke in with the Nets. After an occasionally tempestuous rookie year he signed with the Spurs, where he was more or less a rookie all over again, playing just 23 games and being left off the playoff roster entirely. It paid off in his second year, as he started all 24 of the playoff games he played in en route to his first—and only—NBA championship.

     

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  • Steve Smith

    Teams Played For: 8

    Spur: 2001-’03

    Championship(s): 2003

    Final Season: 2004-’05

    A gentleman in a league not often known for them, Steve Smith was the fifth overall pick (of the Miami Heat) in 1991, won FIBA gold in 1994, was an All-Star in 1998 and won gold again in the 2000 Olympics. He spent over half of his career in Miami and Atlanta, but came closest to a pre-Spurs title as a member of the Trail Blazer team whose epic fourth-quarter collapse in Game Seven of the 2000 Western Conference Finals helped usher in the “Jail Blazer” era. So perhaps it’s more fitting that when Smitty did get his ring, he did it as a member of the ‘03 Spurs, a team and franchise more in line with his own image.

     

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  • Kevin Willis

    Teams Played For: 10

    Spur: 2002-’04

    Championship(s): 2003

    Final Season: 2006-’07

     

    Kevin Willis didn’t actually play forever, but you’re forgiven for thinking he may have. Willis finally retired in ‘07 at the age of 44, having literally spent half his life in the NBA. He was drafted in 1984 by the Hawks, a 22-year-old enforcer placed alongside Dominique Wilkins who went on to become an All-Star himself in 1992, averaging 18-plus points and 15-plus rebounds. By the time he joined the Spurs Willis was already 40, but as one of the fittest players in the history of the league, he was ready whenever his number was called. Which is the most important quality for any Spurs reserve to have.

     

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  • Danny Ferry

    Teams Played For: 2

    Spur: 2000-’03

    Championship(s): 2003

    Final Season: 2002-’03

    An All-American at Duke who was drafted second overall in 1989, Danny Ferry fled for Italy rather than play for the Clippers, showing the same sharp acumen that would make him a successful team executive 15 years later. He signed a 10-year contract (no, really) with the Cavaliers in 1990, and played out the entire string before joining the Spurs in the summer of 2000. So while Manu Ginobili might be the best balding Spur who played professionally in Italy, he isn’t the first. Ferry also made Marcus Camby really upset once.

     

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  • Brent Barry

    Teams Played For: 6

    Spur: 2004-’08

    Championship(s): 2005, 2007

    Final Season: 2008-’09

    While he will forever be remembered for winning the 1996 NBA Slam-Dunk Contest without having removed his warm-up jacket (and being Rick Barry’s kid), Brent Barry had more to his game than just dunking from the free-throw line. He was an excellent three-point shooter for one, averaging 40 percent from deep for his career. He also knew how to play alongside superstars, having spent a couple of seasons in Seattle as Gary Payton’s backcourt partner. His four seasons in San Antonio resulted in three trips to the Western Conference Finals and two titles

     

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  • Rasho Nesterovic

    Teams Played For: 4

    Spur: 2003-’06

    Championship(s): 2005

    Final Season: 2009-’10

    There was once a time when Rasho Nesterovic was a regular starter in the NBA — four years in fact, two with the Timberwolves and two with the Spurs, where he started every game he played. In those four years he played alongside two of the best power forwards in the history of the game, both at their absolute primes. He didn’t start a single playoff game in the 2005 playoffs, and retired short of his 34th birthday, but oh the stories he can tell. That is, if Kevin Garnett will let him.

     

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  • Glenn Robinson

    Teams Played For: 4

    Spur: 2004-’05

    Championship(s): 2005

    Final Season: 2004-’05

    The Big Dog essentially introduced the current rookie salary scale, with his wild demands for a $100 million contract straight out of Purdue (he settled for a lousy $68 million). And while he didn’t even win Rookie of the Year in ‘94 (it was split between Jason Kidd and Grant Hill), he won a ring before either of them as a Spur in 2005. It was his final NBA stop, and a short one, as he signed on in April and played in just 22 games including the playoffs. But what a finish.

     

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  • Tony Massenburg

    Teams Played For: 13

    Spur: 2004-’05

    Championship(s): 2005

    Final Season: 2004-’05

    Tony Massenburg was drafted by the Spurs and retired as one, it’s just that he played for 12 other teams in the time in between. A second-round pick out of Maryland, Massenburg was the ultimate journeyman, playing single-season stints with 10 different teams. He went to the playoffs twice as a Spur, once in 1991 and once in 2005, where he earned the only ring of his career. He only played in nine postseason games in 2005, scoring three points, but that was the end anyway—a journeyman’s journey having finally reached its end.

     

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  • Jacque Vaughn

    Teams Played For: 5

    Spur: 2006-’09

    Championship(s): 2007

    Final Season: 2008-’09

     

    Drafted at the tail end of the first round by the Utah Jazz, Jacque Vaughn went to the NBA Finals in his very first season. He was a career backup to some of the best point guards to ever play the game—John Stockton in Utah, Jason Kidd in New Jersey, and finally Tony Parker in San Antonio. The ability to learn under such mentors probably helped him find his next career, that of an NBA head coach. And any time his young charges in Orlando question him, he can always show them that ring.

     

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Around the Internet

  • Guest

    garbage ass article

    • squatty

      i’m telling you, this guy knows jack shit about bball

  • KylixDesigns

    I agree this is a terrible article. Stephen Jackson hit some big shots the year they won the chip and he also had a decent career. He doesn’t belong on this list.

  • http://www.remixcomic.com/ Nodoubt223rd

    This line pissed me off “A gentleman in a league not often known for them” I think he meant the NFL is a league that’s not known for gentlemen. Most of the NBA’s players are good guys who do a lot for their communities and generally stay out of trouble.