The 1999 NBA Finals was the championship round of the shortened 1998–99 NBA season or the 1999 season. The Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs took on the Eastern Conference champion New York Knicks for the title, with the Spurs holding home court advantage. The series was played under a best-of-seven format, with the first team to collect four game victories winning the series. The Spurs defeated the Knicks 4 games to 1 to win the championship. As of 2019, this is the last NBA Finals where neither team scored 100 or more points in any game during the series.
|1999 NBA Finals|
(San Antonio Spurs)
|Hall of Famers||Spurs:|
David Robinson (2009)
Patrick Ewing (2008)
Dick Bavetta (2015)
|Eastern Finals||Knicks defeat Pacers, 4–2|
|Western Finals||Spurs defeat Trail Blazers, 4–0|
The 1999 NBA season was shortened due to a labor dispute that led to a lockout, canceling the first 3 months of the season, technically making this the 1999 NBA season and Finals (as all games were played in the year 1999). The NBA schedule consisted of 50 regular season games (61% of regular 82 games), and a normal playoff schedule; many teams never played each other.
This was the second year of the "Twin Towers" pairing of David Robinson and second year star forward Tim Duncan, who switched from his natural center position in college to power forward to play alongside Robinson in San Antonio; the two had been teammates since the Spurs drafted Duncan with the first overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft- a pick they earned through the draft lottery, due to a 62-loss 1996–97 season that saw Robinson suffer an injury very early in the season and the team collapse from there. As a result of the shaky start, veteran coach Bob Hill was fired and replaced by then-general manager Gregg Popovich. In the first season of the Duncan/Robinson tandem the Spurs won 56 games but were eliminated by the Utah Jazz in the second round of the playoffs. The following year, led by Robinson, Duncan, Sean Elliott, and Avery Johnson, the Spurs recovered from a 6-8 start to the season to win 31 of their last 36 games and qualify as the top seed in the Western Conference, as well as the league's best record.
After defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves in four games, San Antonio recorded back-to-back sweeps in the second round and conference finals, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers. The victory over Portland gave the Spurs their first ever trip to the NBA Finals.
The Knicks had a harder time getting to the playoffs than the Spurs did. Toward the end of the season, with the team teetering on the brink of making the playoffs, rumors had begun to spread in the New York media that head coach Jeff Van Gundy would lose his job before the end of the season if the team did not make the playoffs. Instead, New York fired general manager Ernie Grunfeld and allowed Van Gundy to lead the team to the playoffs, with the team barely qualifying as the #8 seed. They would face the Miami Heat, the top seed, in the first round.
Led by an injured Patrick Ewing and relying on contributions from Larry Johnson, Latrell Sprewell, and Allan Houston, as well as a newly acquired Marcus Camby, the Knicks were able to keep pace with the Heat and after Houston hit a shot with 0.8 seconds remaining in Game 5 of that series, the Knicks were victorious and became the second team in NBA history after the Denver Nuggets to win a playoff series as the #8 seed. The Nuggets were led by Dikembe Mutombo in that series, a center who now was playing for the Atlanta Hawks, the Knicks' next opponent. Although the center from Zaire guaranteed a victory, the Knicks won in a four-game sweep to set up a matchup with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Ewing could not continue due to an injury and was lost for the series after the first two games. In the third game, with 11.9 seconds left and the Knicks trailing 91–88, Johnson looked to attempt a three-point shot but was unable to shake the defender. He continued moving, however, and got off the shot while being fouled. He made the basket and converted the subsequent free-throw for a game-winning four-point play and gave his team a 2–1 lead in the series. In Game 6, however, Johnson suffered a knee injury and although the Knicks rallied around him to get the victory and the conference championship, it would prove costly as his playing time was limited in the Finals.
The Spurs won the series 4 games to 1. Spurs forward Tim Duncan was named the Most Valuable Player of the finals. On June 25 with 47 seconds to go in Game 5, Avery Johnson hit the game-winner. Johnson's shot was followed by a Latrell Sprewell miss that would have sent the series back to San Antonio.
This was the first of San Antonio's five NBA Championships, but they would not return to the Finals until 2003. New York has yet to return to the Finals. No #8 seed has advanced to the NBA Finals or as far as the Conference Finals since, but there have been other instances of #8 seeds defeating #1 seeds in the playoffs: in 2007 the Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks; in 2011 the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Spurs; and in 2012 the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Chicago Bulls.
The Spurs would also be the first champions since 1986 to not go on to repeat as champions. From 1987 to 1998 every champion either repeated or three-peated.
As of the 2019 NBA Finals, June 25 is the latest in the calendar that any NBA Finals game has ever been played. Had a Game 7 been required it would have been played on Tuesday, June 29.
|San Antonio Spurs (Western Conference champion)||New York Knicks (Eastern Conference champion)|
1st seed in the West, best league record
8th seed in the East, 14th best league record
|Defeated the (8) Minnesota Timberwolves, 3–1||First round||Defeated the (1) Miami Heat, 3–2|
|Defeated the (4) Los Angeles Lakers, 4–0||Conference Semifinals||Defeated the (4) Atlanta Hawks, 4–0|
|Defeated the (2) Portland Trail Blazers, 4–0||Conference Finals||Defeated the (2) Indiana Pacers, 4–2|
The Knicks and Spurs did not meet in the regular season.
|1999 San Antonio Spurs Finals roster|
|1999 New York Knicks Finals roster|
|Game||Date||Away Team||Result||Home Team|
|Game 1||Wednesday, June 16||New York Knicks||77–89 (0–1)||San Antonio Spurs|
|Game 2||Friday, June 18||New York Knicks||67–80 (0–2)||San Antonio Spurs|
|Game 3||Monday, June 21||San Antonio Spurs||81–89 (2–1)||New York Knicks|
|Game 4||Wednesday, June 23||San Antonio Spurs||96–89 (3–1)||New York Knicks|
|Game 5||Friday, June 25||San Antonio Spurs||78–77 (4–1)||New York Knicks|
The Finals were played using a 2–3–2 site format, where the first two and last two games are held at the team with home court advantage. The NBA, after experimenting in the early years, restored this original format for the Finals between 1985–2013. In 2014, the Finals returned to a 2–2–1–1–1 site format.
|New York Knicks 77, San Antonio Spurs 89|
|Scoring by quarter: 27–21, 10–24, 26–26, 14–18|
|Pts: Sprewell, Houston 19
Rebs: Latrell Sprewell 7
Asts: Houston, Ward 3
|Pts: Tim Duncan 33|
Rebs: Tim Duncan 13
Asts: Avery Johnson 8
|San Antonio led the series, 1–0|
|New York Knicks 67, San Antonio Spurs 80|
|Scoring by quarter: 15–20, 19–19, 15–17, 18–24|
|Pts: Latrell Sprewell 26
Rebs: Latrell Sprewell 7
Asts: Charlie Ward 3
|Pts: Tim Duncan 25|
Rebs: Tim Duncan 15
Asts: Avery Johnson 5
|San Antonio led the series, 2–0|
|San Antonio Spurs 81, New York Knicks 89|
|Scoring by quarter: 21–32, 25–17, 16–16, 19–24|
|Pts: David Robinson 25
Rebs: Tim Duncan 12
Asts: Avery Johnson 4
|Pts: Allan Houston 34|
Rebs: Houston, Johnson 5
Asts: Latrell Sprewell 5
|San Antonio led the series, 2–1|
|San Antonio Spurs 96, New York Knicks 89|
|Scoring by quarter: 27–29, 23–17, 22–17, 24–26|
|Pts: Tim Duncan 28
Rebs: Tim Duncan 18
Asts: Avery Johnson 10
|Pts: Latrell Sprewell 26|
Rebs: Marcus Camby 13
Asts: Charlie Ward 8
|San Antonio led the series, 3–1|
|San Antonio Spurs 78, New York Knicks 77|
|Scoring by quarter: 20–23, 20–15, 19–20, 19–19|
|Pts: Tim Duncan 31
Rebs: David Robinson 12
Asts: Avery Johnson 9
|Pts: Latrell Sprewell 35|
Rebs: Latrell Sprewell 10
Asts: Allan Houston 5
|San Antonio won the NBA Finals, 4–1|
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game|
The Spurs would become the first defending champion since the 1985–86 Celtics to not win consecutive championships. They won 53 games that season, but were severely handicapped by Sean Elliott's early season kidney transplant, and Tim Duncan's late-season knee injury. The Spurs were eliminated in the first round of the 2000 NBA Playoffs by the Phoenix Suns. The Spurs would also win four more NBA titles in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014 and appear in the 2013 NBA Finals, with Duncan and head coach Gregg Popovich the only members of the team to appear in all of the Spurs' Finals appearances.
As of the 2017–18 season, the series remains the Knicks' last NBA Finals appearance. The next season, the Knicks won fifty games but fell to the Indiana Pacers in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals. After that season, the Patrick Ewing era came to an end when Ewing was traded to the SuperSonics. Over the fifteen ensuing post-Ewing seasons, the Knicks have been among the least successful NBA franchises, with only three winning seasons and one playoff series win.
The 1999 NBA season was the 53rd season of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Due to a lockout, the season did not start until February 5, 1999, after a new six-year Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. All 29 teams played a shortened 50-game regular season schedule and the 16 teams who qualified for the playoffs played a full post-season schedule. That season's All-Star Game was also canceled. The season ended with the San Antonio Spurs winning the franchise's first NBA championship, beating the New York Knicks 4 games to 1 in the 1999 NBA Finals. This was the 50th season since the BAA and NBL had merged into the NBA.1999 in basketball
The following are the basketball events of the year 1999 throughout the world.1999–2000 New York Knicks season
The 1999–2000 NBA season was the 53rd season of the National Basketball Association in New York City. The Knicks entered the season as runner-ups of the 1999 NBA Finals, where despite losing to the San Antonio Spurs in five games, they became the first eighth seeded team to reach the NBA Finals. During the offseason, the Knicks re-signed free agent John Wallace. In his second year with the Knicks, Latrell Sprewell became a starter after playing off the bench last season and averaged 18.6 points per game. After advancing to the NBA Finals as the #8 seed last year, the Knicks finished second in the Atlantic Division with a 50–32 record, good enough for their first 50-win season since 1997. Allan Houston and head coach Jeff Van Gundy represented the Eastern Conference during the 2000 NBA All-Star Game. In the first round of the playoffs, the Knicks swept the Toronto Raptors in three straight games. In the semifinals, they faced the Miami Heat for the fourth consecutive year. They would defeat the 2nd-seeded Heat in a tough, hard-fought seven-game series, but would lose in six games to the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals, ending their hopes of making the Finals for a second straight year.
As of 2018, this marks the last time the Knicks had made the Eastern Conference Finals.
This season marked an end of an era as Patrick Ewing was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics following the season. Also following the season, Chris Dudley was traded to the Phoenix Suns, and Wallace was traded to the Dallas Mavericks.Alamodome
The Alamodome is a 64,000-seat multi-purpose stadium in San Antonio, Texas. It is located on the southeastern fringe of downtown San Antonio. The facility opened on May 15, 1993, having been constructed at a cost of $186 million.
The multi-purpose facility was intended to increase the city's convention traffic and attract a professional football franchise. It also placated the San Antonio Spurs' demands for a larger arena. The Spurs played in the Alamodome for a decade, then became disenchanted with the facility and convinced Bexar County to construct a new arena for them, now called the AT&T Center. The Alamodome's regular tenants are currently the UTSA Roadrunners. Recent tenants include the San Antonio Commanders of the Alliance of American Football and the San Antonio Talons of the Arena Football League.Allan Houston
Allan Wade Houston (born April 20, 1971) is an American retired professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1993 to 2005. A shooting guard, Houston played nine seasons for the New York Knicks; he was a member of the Knicks' 1999 NBA Finals team. Houston made the NBA All-Star Team twice and also won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. men's basketball team at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
As of January 2018, Houston serves as assistant general manager for the New York Knicks and general manager of the Knicks' G League team, the Westchester Knicks.Charlie Ward
Charlie Ward Jr. (born October 12, 1970) is an American retired professional basketball player, college football Heisman Trophy winner and Davey O'Brien Award winner and a Major League Baseball draftee.
He won the College Football National Championship with the Florida State Seminoles in 1993. Despite his NCAA football success, Ward was one of the very few players who won a Heisman Trophy but was not drafted in the NFL draft.
Ward played for nine years with the New York Knicks and started in the 1999 NBA Finals. He later had short spells with the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets, before retiring in 2005. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.Ed Tapscott
Ed Tapscott (born June 11, 1953 in Washington, D.C.) is the former interim head coach of the NBA's Washington Wizards.Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals
Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals was a professional basketball game that was played on June 14, 1998 between the visiting Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz at the Delta Center, now known as Vivint Smart Home Arena, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Bulls won 87–86, winning their sixth NBA championship in eight years. Game 6 was the final game with the Bulls for Michael Jordan and coach Phil Jackson (both would retire from the National Basketball Association (NBA), then eventually return). This game earned, and still holds, the highest TV ratings of an NBA game of all time. Michael Jordan hit a jump shot with 5.2 seconds left in the game to give the Bulls an 87–86 lead. Chicago then held on to win after John Stockton missed a 3-point field goal.Herb Williams
Herbert L. Williams (born February 16, 1958) is a retired American basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for eighteen seasons from 1981 to 1999. Williams served as the interim head coach and the assistant coach of the NBA's New York Knicks. He is currently an assistant coach for the New York Liberty of the WNBA.Jerome Kersey
Jerome Kersey (June 26, 1962 – February 18, 2015) was an American professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played for the Portland Trail Blazers (1984–1995), Golden State Warriors (1995–96), Los Angeles Lakers (1996–97), Seattle SuperSonics (1997–98), San Antonio Spurs (1998–2000), and Milwaukee Bucks (2000–01). Kersey won an NBA championship with the Spurs in 1999.
The Trail Blazers selected Kersey in the second round of the 1984 NBA draft from Longwood University (then Longwood College) in Farmville, Virginia. He was a member of the Spurs during their 1999 NBA Finals victory over the New York Knicks. Following his playing career, Kersey worked with his former Portland teammate and then-head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks Terry Porter as an assistant in 2005. Kersey died from a pulmonary embolism caused by a blood clot at his home in Tualatin, Oregon, on February 18, 2015.List of San Antonio Spurs head coaches
The San Antonio Spurs are an American professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas. They are a member of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The franchise was founded as the Dallas Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association (ABA) in 1967. The team suffered from poor attendance and general disinterest by fans in Dallas, and the name "Dallas" was dropped in favor of "Texas" during the 1970–71 season in an attempt to make the team regional. This also proved to be a failure, and the team returned full-time to use "Dallas" for the 1971–72 season. The team was put up for sale after missing the playoffs in the 1972–73 season. The team was acquired by a group of 36 San Antonio businessmen, led by Angelo Drossos and Red McCombs, who relocated the team to San Antonio, Texas and renamed it to Spurs. In 1976, the ABA folded, threatening the future of San Antonio's sole professional sports franchise. The NBA, however, decided to admit four ABA teams into the league, including the Spurs, along with the Denver Nuggets, the Indiana Pacers and the New York Nets.There have been 18 head coaches for the San Antonio Spurs. The franchise won their first NBA championship in the 1999 NBA Finals coached by Gregg Popovich. The Spurs won four additional NBA championships in 2003 NBA Finals, 2005 NBA Finals, 2007 NBA Finals and 2014 NBA Finals under Popovich. Popovich is the franchise's all-time leader in both regular season and playoff games coached and wins. He also won the NBA Coach of the Year award for 2002–03 season. Larry Brown is the only member of the franchise that has been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach. Bob Bass, who has coached with the Spurs for four terms, leads the franchise in most number of terms coached. Cliff Hagan, Max Williams, Bill Blakeley, Dave Brown, Morris McHone, Jerry Tarkanian and Popovich spent their entire coaching careers with the Spurs.Memorial Day Miracle
The Memorial Day Miracle is a game-winning three-point field goal by Sean Elliott in Game 2 of the 1999 Western Conference Finals between the Portland Trail Blazers and the San Antonio Spurs at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on May 31, 1999, Memorial Day.Reebok Pro Summer League
The Reebok Pro Summer League, known originally as the Shaw's Pro Summer League, was a professional basketball developmental league hosted by the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) during the league's off-season at Clark Athletic Center on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Boston. Founded in 1999, the league planned a 2004 season, but was forced to fold due to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, which was being held in Boston. From 1999 to 2002, the league was sponsored by grocery store chain Shaw's. In 2003, footwear and apparel company Reebok became the title sponsor of the league.Tom Thibodeau
Thomas Joseph Thibodeau Jr. ( THIB-ə-doh; born January 17, 1958) is an American basketball coach who most recently was head coach and president of basketball operations of the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Since June 2013, he has served as an assistant coach for the United States men's national basketball team.
As a defensive coach, he helped the Houston Rockets rank among the Top 5 in the league in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense from 2004 to 2007, and he has helped his team finish in the league's Top 10 in team defense 15 times. He coached in 87 playoff games and was part of the 1999 NBA Finals as an assistant coach with the New York Knicks before joining the Boston Celtics, with whom he won the 2008 NBA Finals as well as helping guide them back to the 2010 NBA Finals, serving as a defensive coach. In 2011, he was named the NBA Coach of the Year after leading the Bulls to a 62-win season.
San Antonio Spurs 1998–99 NBA champions
|G League affiliate|
|Culture and lore|
|G League affiliate|
|Culture and lore|
1998–99 NBA season by team