Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yahoo! Sports: Spurs discuss trade for Bucks’ Jefferson


By Adrian Wojnarowski

The San Antonio Spurs are in serious discussions with the Milwaukee Bucks for forward Richard Jefferson, league executives told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday.

The proposed deal would have the Spurs send send veterans Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas and Fabricio Oberto to the Bucks, who are looking to shed the remaining two years, $29.2 million on Jefferson’s contract for the Spurs’ expiring contracts.

The deal isn’t completed, but league executives say both teams appear motivated to get it done.

Jefferson is the athletic, scoring forward that Spurs have craved to complement the aging tandem of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. The Spurs have been pursuing the New Jersey Nets Vince Carter too, but it appears Jefferson is the deal that they can make now.

After arriving in Milwaukee last summer from New Jersey, Jefferson averaged 19.6 points for the Bucks last season.

Bowen, 38, has been a staple of the past three Spurs championships and one of the NBA’s most dogged defenders.

Monday, June 22, 2009

SA Business Journal: Spurs Interested In Securing A Future NBA All-Star Game

by W. Scott Bailey

The NBA announced recently that it will take its 2011 All-Star Game to Los Angeles, which last hosted the festivities in 2004. Next February, the Metroplex will host the mega event in the billion-dollar Cowboys Stadium.

San Antonio has hosted the NBA All-Star Game once — in 1996 at the Alamodome. And now Rick Pych, president of business operations for Spurs Sports & Entertainment, says the franchise is interested in bringing the sport’s marquee players back to the Alamo City.

Houston hosted the 2006 NBA All-Star Game. It also hosted the event in 1989.

The 2010 NBA All-Star Game will be played at Cowboys Stadium, an 80,000-seat, retractable-roof venue located in Arlington. Some of the related events, including the Rookie Challenge, will be staged in Dallas — which hosted the 1986 NBA All-Star Game.

48 Minutes of Hell: Tiago Splitter, Trade Asset


Tiago Splitter, Trade Asset

The Draft is almost upon us. There have been several reports that the Spurs are looking to trade into the first round, with one rumor having them interested in Washington’s 5th pick. But, honestly, we heard similar things last year. The cold reality of limited assets and the tough business of locating agreeable trade partners quiets most of the rumor-mongering.

This year’s trade speculation rests against the backdrop of needed change, with almost all those who follow the Spurs calling for or expecting overhaul this offseason. Don Harris recently quoted Spurs color analyst and family member Sean Elliott saying, “…I would fully expect us to have a revamped team next season.” His expectation seems universal.

A few of our readers have asked, given the team’s limited assets, whether Tiago Splitter’s rights could help a trade proposal go through. If Splitter is not tied to the rookie scale, as we’ve previously argued, one would think his rights would hold some value, certainly more than we assumed a year ago.

Tiago Splitter projects as an NBA starter, or at least a quality rotation big. He’s only 24 years old, but has the professional experience of a seasoned vet. And in this topsy-turvy economy, one wonders if his buyout situation is not actually attractive to teams. Put differently, if you’re a team that is not enamored with adding a rookie to your 2009-10 payroll, acquiring the rights to a talented big who requires zero immediate payment (and won’t until at least next summer) is something of a win-win. You avoid the cap hit, but still get to add a valuable player to your pipeline. Looking at the bigs available in this draft, Splitter would probably rank with Jordan Hill and DeJuan Blair, not far behind Hasheem Thabeet. Some might rank him ahead of the other three.

If this is the case, why would the Spurs want to give him up? If he came to the team next season, he’s a lock for a productive 25 mpg.

The simple answer is that he provides an asset the team currently lacks. He’s the young prospect that could put a cap relief package over the top. And again, that’s with the added luxury of staying off the books until at least 2010.

The Spurs recent dalliance with Yiannis Bouroussis is an indicator that shoring up their front line is an immediate priority, one that Tim Duncan cannot afford for them to sit on for another year. I expect the team to target another big with their MLE (Charlie Villanueva?). Then there is the possibility of Ian Mahinmi bouncing back from injury and contributing to the rotation. And most of us expect that if Chris Bosh is available next summer, the Spurs will use their cap space to make a run at him, however unlikely the odds. Add all that up. Where does Tiago Splitter fit into the puzzle?

But that’s on the optimistic view. The pessimist is happy to respond by saying the Spurs could strike out in free agency, Mahinmi could flop, and the team could completely miss their 2010 free agent target. If some combination of those things were to occur, Splitter is a mighty nice insurance policy.

Obviously, he’s the sort of asset one doesn’t just give away. There is no question he benefits the team a year from now. The question, however, is could he benefit the team 4 days from now? And if so, to what degree and how?

So to our readers who’ve asked what value Splitter’s rights hold, my answer is a curiosity struck “dunno.” I’d like to think he could command a pick somewhere between 10 and 20, but I also see the world through shades of silver and black.

48 Minutes Of Hell: Trading Tony Parker

Can Tony lead the Spurs to a fifth title? The little trophy in his left hand thinks so.
In recent weeks, we’ve discussed the numerous trade opportunities that are available to the Spurs. During these discussions, certain commenters have repeatedly floated an idea that I have yet to address formally: The idea of trading Tony Parker. Once or twice I have mentioned that I think trading Tony Parker is a bad idea, and is a much more drastic move than some realize, but I haven’t fully explained why.

First, I want to briefly touch upon what people seemingly want to trade him for. Different commenters have suggested different trades for different reasons, so I don’t want to treat the “Trade Tony” crowd as if they are some unified group. But, for the most part, advocates of trading Tony think we could acquire a number of young role players for our starting point guard. I feel like the most often mentioned trading partner is Portland, who has a glut of young talent. For instance, if we could acquire Nic Batum, Steve Blake and Greg Oden for Tony Parker (check the Trade Machine, it works), why wouldn’t you? Yes, we lose an All-Star Point Guard, but we acquire a potential All-Star center, a talented young wing, and a PG who can get the job done.

Although Portland is in the hunt for a marquee point, I don’t believe they would go for this. That being said, I am using this hypothetical situation because I believe it is the best possible trade the Spurs could get, and even though I disagree with the “Trade Tony” crowd, I don’t want to sell them short. I also don’t think the Spurs are at all interested in trading Tony for another All-Star, one for one. If the idea has even crossed Buford and Pop’s mind, it has crossed it along these lines.

So why, despite the proposed trade’s enormous upside, am I still opposed to it? Because trading Tony Parker is the equivalent of blowing it up. Yes, the team will continue to resemble its current manifestation for a couple of years whether Tony is traded or not, but by trading Tony the Front Office would be saying, “We are no longer trying to win another title during the Tim Duncan era. We are officially planning for the future.”

The reality of the matter is, this team needs to get deeper and younger, but it cannot become those things at the expense of Tony Parker. Let me make a couple of things clear, so people don’t jump to conclusions: By saying Tony Parker is a fundamental piece of our championship aspirations I am not saying Manu Ginobili isn’t. So many people treat the situation as an either/or while, in fact, neither of them has won an NBA championship without the other.

Let me rephrase: By surrounding a soon-to-be 32 year old Manu Ginobili and a 33 year old Tim Duncan with an assortment of still developing role players, you have not produced a championship roster. Players like Nic Batum and Greg Oden may be reliable contributors during deep playoff runs in 2 years, but by that time Manu and Tim will be in no position to lead them. The heart will always be there but the physical ability no longer will.

I am not saying this is necessarily a bad situation. If you are more interested in winning a championship in 5 years than during the next 2 or 3, than this probably sounds like an excellent idea. And in some ways it is. But to those of you who claim that the Spurs cannot win another title during the Duncan era without Manu and then turn around and say we should trade Tony: Your logic has led you down 2 different paths.

Even if you have resigned yourself to the idea that the championship run is over and would prefer the Spurs adopt a more long-term mentality, I still think trading Tony is a bad idea. I think that because the Spurs can get younger and deeper without trading Tony. And if you can achieve those admittedly crucial goals without sacrificing your elite point, than you don’t sacrifice him. It’s as simple as that.

As things currently stand, in 12 months only 3 players are still on the books: Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and George Hill. At that point in time, the Spurs will have all kinds of financial flexibility. With so many current members of the team set to retire at the end of next season, there is no need to panic and trade away our most valuable asset.

Although not as fundamental to my argument, I also like the idea of having some continuity between the generations. I like the fact that Robinson played alongside Duncan. I am glad that Duncan has taken the time to mentor Parker, despite their differing roles. And I look forward to the day when Parker can pass on that wisdom to a new generation of Spurs.

And yes, Parker does have the emotional and mental fiber to carry on the legacy of hard work and humility that has built this franchise. Spurs fans constantly refer to Parker as a “prima donna,” but you want to know what: I think that is bullshit. Parker may not emit the saintliness possessed by Ginobili or Duncan, but on the broader spectrum of NBA players, Parker is team-oriented and very hard-working. Have we so quickly forgotten that, in response to what seemed like endless verbal lashings from Pop early in his career, Parker put his head down and tried even harder? Or that he meticulously worked to reconstruct his shot, a laborious process few NBA players have the commitment to complete?

And the fact that he is a score-first point does not mean he is selfish. Our offensive system has never necessitated a pass-first small guard. The fact that he averaged almost 2.5 more FGA per game than he did in ‘07 is not a symbol of his selfishness: It symbolizes the fact that, when asked by Pop, he’s willing to permanently put himself in 5th gear.

The Spurs’ Yoko Ono

As an afterword to this piece, I’d like to address the signficance of someone we almost never mention here on 48 Minutes of Hell: Eva Longoria Parker. Mrs. Longoria Parker symbolizes the fears Spurs fans harbor about Tony: He is too enticed by the limelight and, when his contract is up in 2011, he will leave San Antonio for a larger market team, where he can indulge his supposed vanity.

I think this conception of Tony and Eva is patently absurd. First and foremost, as a native of South Texas, Eva has no reason to encourage Tony to leave San Antonio. She was a Spurs fan before they met. In fact, they were first introducted after a game she attended in San Antonio. Since they began dating, she has always been a committed supporter of the team and has never once hinted that she would like to see her husband in a different jersey. If Parker leaves San Antonio, there is no reason to believe it would be because of her.

(Quick Sidenote: Not surprisingly, the people I have met who are most adamant that Parker will leave San Antonio for a team on either coast are people who happen live on either coast. People from New York and LA can’t imagine why anyone would live in middle America! Colour me shocked.)

In general, this entire idea that superstars are looking to move to major market teams is based off of an antiquated sense of celebrity. Although the major American media companies are still located in New York and Los Angeles, the nature of new media and contemporary entertainment news coverage has begun to detach notoriety from physical locations.

For instance, despite the ambivalence many sports fans feel towards the Spurs, Parker still managed to grace the cover of the most recent edition of EA Sports NBA Live. He and his wife already own homes in Texas, Los Angeles, and Paris. During the offseason, they can spend as much time in any of those places as they like. And during the season, Parker is on the road half of the time anyways. The fact that his employer is technically located in San Antonio does not mean he has to spend his days twiddling his thumbs somewhere along the I-35 corridor.

The truth of the matter is, Parker has a good deal in San Antonio. He has the opportunity to be the centerpiece of a competitive franchise. He can complete his career alongside a coach and within an organization he loves and trusts. Market size aside, I see no reason why he would readily leave that situation.

Express News: Spurs assistant in charge of Aussies

By Jeff McDonald

Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown will never forget his first trip to Australia.

He was 25 years old, with wanderlust in his heart and a little bit of money in his pocket, a young man from New England on a serious undertaking.

“I was on a mission to travel,” Brown said. “It was a period of my life where I was unsure what I wanted to do. I was just out of college. I had made some money. I was single. At that point, I just wanted to see the world.”

So he set out to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Along the way, he met his future wife, found a calling as a basketball coach and wound up staying for nearly 13 years.

Earlier this month, Brown, now 48, returned again to Australia, again on a mission. He is set to begin work as the new head coach of that country's national team, tabbed with turning around a program that has fallen on hard times since consecutive fourth-place finishes at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and the 2000 Games in Sydney.

This will be his summer job for the next four years, culminating with the 2012 Olympics in London.

“If you had told me 23 years ago that I would have this opportunity, I wouldn't have believed you,” Brown said.

It does seem like an unlikely turn of events: a relatively unknown NBA assistant who was raised in Maine, asked to take over a national program half a world away.

Though he hails from the uppermost reaches of New England, Brown is as Australian as a koala bear. Maybe he learned the game in America, but he cut his coaching teeth in the Aussie league.

A melting pot of influences, he offers traditional Australian aphorisms — “Good on ya, mate” — with a slight Boston brogue.

So how does a guy raised in Maine go on to become an Olympic coach in Australia? The answer lies in equal parts timing and luck.

Fruitful walkabout

In 1983, Brown had just finished a four-year career as a point guard at Boston University, figuring he was done with basketball altogether. He took a job as a sales representative for AT&T, hawking telephone and computer equipment to businesses.

And he was miserable.

“I was a shirt-and-tie guy, a 9-to-5 guy,” Brown said. “It wasn't me.”

So Brown quit his job, emptied his savings account and set out to see the South Pacific. He met his wife, Anna, and decided to settle down Down Under.

He needed a job and knew he didn't want to sell telephones.

“I suppose we gravitate to what we know,” said Brown, the son of a high school basketball coaching lifer. “I don't know much, but basketball is in my blood.”

Brown took his first coaching job with Auckland of the New Zealand professional league in 1988. He parlayed that into an assistant's gig in Australia with the Melbourne Tigers, coached then by Australian legend Lindsay Gaze, father of former Spurs player Andrew Gaze.

From there, Brown became the head coach of the North Melbourne Giants from 1993-98. He also coached the Sydney Kings from 2000-02.

Though since transplanted, Brown's Aussie roots run deep. He was also an assistant coach with the hard-luck Australian national teams in 1996 and 2000.

Brown's success in Australia paved his path to San Antonio, first in 1999 when he served as an unpaid “guest” of the Spurs at the invitation of general manager R.C. Buford, then again in July 2002 when he was hired full-time as the team's director of player development. He was promoted to Gregg Popovich's bench as an assistant coach before the start of the 2007 season.

The fact that he had a foot in both basketball worlds — the NBA and internationally — was a key factor in Brown landing the Australian national gig in March.

“Brett is a smart coach; he knows the game,” said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, a veteran of international competition. “I know he will do a good job with Australia.”

No time off

Thanks to his new summer job, Brown's NBA offseason will be busier than any of the Spurs' rodeo trips. With most of Australia's highest-profile players — particularly Milwaukee Bucks star Andrew Bogut — otherwise indisposed, Brown's task this summer will be to identify up-and-comers in the program.

The process began in earnest last week with a training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. This week, Brown's team is in China for a pair of exhibitions against Yao Ming's buddies.

Next month, it's Argentina and Brazil. In August, it's a home-and-home series with New Zealand for seeding in next year's FIBA World Championships.

At first, the time commitment was enough for Brown to turn down interest in the job. It was only after a heart-to-heart with Popovich that Brown ultimately agreed to apply.

Brown will be done globetrotting and back in San Antonio in time for the start of Spurs training camp.

“We made it clear he would have as much time as needed to do the work for them,” Popovich said. “It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

Before he set off on a summer that would make Magellan travel weary, Brown couldn't help but reflect on all that has happened to get to this point.

He is a man on a mission, again.

“My frequent flier miles will be off the charts, and my luggage will be worn out by the end of it,” Brown said. “But you know what? I love it.”


American know-how

Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown, Australia’s new national team coach, isn’t the only American-born coach with international experience:

David Blatt: A three-year letter-winner for Pete Carril at Princeton and a captain on the 1980-81 Ivy League champion, he has coached in Europe since 1993. The Boston native coached Russia to the Eurobasket 2007 championship. He coached the Russian team at the Beijing Olympics, and he recently left his job as coach for Dynamo Moscow.

Chris Finch: A four-year letter-winner for Glenn Marshall at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, he is the head coach for the British national team that includes Luol Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu.

Brian Goorjian: A three-year letterman at Pepperdine (1974-76), he’s considered the most successful coach in Australian basketball history, and he’s Brown’s predecessor with the Aussie team. The Glendale, Calif., native won his sixth National Basketball League championship and coach of the year honor this season after leading the South Dragons to the NBL title. He led the Aussie team to the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. It lost to the United States 116-85 in the quarterfinals at Beijing.

Del Harris: The former head coach for the Rockets, Bucks and Lakers directed Yao Ming’s Chinese team in the 2004 Olympics. His NBA coaching record is 556-457.

David Hobbs: The two-year letterman at Virginia Commonwealth and former assistant at his alma mater — Alabama when Robert Horry was there and Kentucky — he’s the head coach for the Japanese national team. He was Alabama’s head coach from 1992-98.

Donnie Nelson: The son of Don Nelson and general manager for the Dallas Mavericks served as a longtime assistant coach for Lithuania, helping the team to three Olympic bronze medals and the 2003 European championship. He was an assistant for China in the 2008 Olympics.

Nolan Richardson: The El Paso native led Arkansas to the 1994 NCAA championship and has been the head coach for national teams in Panama (2003-05) and Mexico (2007). His NCAA coaching mark stands at 508-206.

Scott Roth: The former Wisconsin standout and member of the 1988-89 Spurs was an assistant for Turkey’s national team in 2001-02. He also coached the Dominican Republic national team, which in 2008 had Al Horford and Francisco Garcia. He currently coaches the Bakersfield Jam in the NBA D-League.

- Douglas Pils

Express News: Bruce's Bytes: Father's Day

A three-time NBA Champion and eight-time NBA All-Defensive Team honoree, San Antonio Spurs forward Bruce Bowen is also founder of The Bruce Bowen Foundation, which is committed to supporting and enhancing the lives of youth in underserved communities. He and his wife, Yardley, also own several businesses in San Antonio. Learn more about Bruce.

Fathers Day......
By Bruce Bowen

I have had the wonderful opportunity of seeing some great examples of fathers. I didn't have a clue what fatherhood meant prior to my two boys. Everyday is a new challenge when it comes to being a father. Unfortunately, theirs no manual to being a father. So we make mistakes, and try to learn as we go. For those who didn't see good examples, I commend you for continuing with the good fight of faith raising your kids. It's so easy to give up and walk out on any responsiblity, but if we do give up, what are we teaching the those who look up to us?

I didn't have the best upbringing in the world, but that's no excuse for me not to try and learn from others mistakes. It's a great opportunity for me to break the CYCLE that continues to break kids spirits.

To all the fathers out there, thank you for the example that you are showing our young men and women in the world. I wish all the fathers the best Bar-B-Que, and sweetest desserts available to you on this day.

Express News: Person Of Interest: Danny Green


By Jeff McDonald

With exactly one week to go before the NBA draft, we continue our look at potential Spurs targets by examining North Carolina small forward Danny Green.

For about the past several seasons, the Spurs have been on the lookout for "the next Bruce Bowen" -- a rangy defensive player who can hit a shot every now and then, but for whom offense is clearly secondary.

It would be silly to compare Green to Bowen at this stage -- Bowen is an eight-time All-NBA defender, Green is a 22-year-old who has never played in a professional game. But, on paper, Green at least possesses some attributes that make him an intriguing prospect for the "Bowen-in-waiting" role.

Green is 6-foot-6 with a 6-10 wingspan, and was renowned in college as a particularly good all-around defender. He isn't overwhelmingly athletic, and doesn't possess much of a one-on-one offensive game, but he has worked hard to refine his shooting mechanics and can hit a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer with some regularity (sound familiar?). Green averaged 13.1 points as a senior at UNC, and hit at a 41-percent clip from 3-point range.

The best part for the Spurs is that Green ought to be available when they are picking in the second round. Though his NBA ceiling is limited, Green could turn out to be a valuable NBA role player some day. That is all you're shooting for at pick No. 37.

Express News: The George Hill All-Stars and Tony Parker plays futbol


By Jeff McDonald

Couple of odds and ends here at Courtside today.

First, the NBA's Summer League schedule is out. For those of you diehards planning on making the trip to Vegas next month, the Spurs' entry will play five games:

July 12 -- vs. the Hornets at 1 p.m.
July 14 -- vs. the Nuggets at 7 p.m.
July 16 -- vs. the Thunder at 5:30 p.m.
July 18 -- vs. the Trail Blazers at 7:30 p.m.
July 19 -- vs. the Grizzlies at 5 p.m.

All games will be played at the Thomas and Mack Center or the adjacent Cox Pavilion. All times are Vegas time.

The roster for the Spurs entry, which will be coached by assistant Don Newman, is still in flux. George Hill and Ian Mahinmi, summer league veterans both, are expected to headline the team.

Also today, it was announced that Tony Parker will play in a celebrity soccer game hosted by Steve Nash later this summer. The so-called "Showdown in Chinatown," held June 24 in New York, features Nash and U.S. soccer star Claudio Reyna. Proceeds benefit the Steve Nash Foundation and the Claudio Reyna Foundation.

Other NBA stars slated to participate, along with Nash and Parker, are Jason Kidd, Grant Hill, Chris Bosh and Raja Bell.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Examiner: Spurs, Ginobili enter offseason with questions


Michael Chartier

The San Antonio Spurs face a crossroads entering the 2009-2010 NBA offseason. Besides coming off a first-round exit from the NBA playoffs for the first time in the Tim Duncan era (when playing), uncertainty surrounds the status of Manu Ginobili.

Ginobili said he expects to be 100 percent after a right ankle stress fracture caused him to miss the final six games of the regular season and the playoffs. Still, San Antonio has twice shelved contract negotiations with the shooting guard who has only one year left on his current deal. The soon-to-be-32-year-old All-Star recently told the Argentine press that the idea of San Antonio trading him "could happen."

Head coach Gregg Popovich, however, while not ruling it out completely also called it unlikely.

"I can't imagine a scenario where he would be traded," Popovich told reporters.

Despite Duncan turning 33 this past April and some questioning his general health, the two-time league MVP, three-time Finals MVP and four-time NBA Champion was close enough to "playoff Timmy" to suggest that adding a piece or two is all that stands between him and his fifth ring.

While some fans may be hoping for a big free agent splash or draft day blockbuster, the biggest acquisition for the Spurs will be the healthy return of Ginobili. The seven-year NBA veteran doesn't boast the kind of eye-popping career stats of a Kobe and Lebron or even oft-injured stars like Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady. But when comparing the best twos and threes in the NBA, who is really more explosive or effective than Manu?

If you need a reminder, here's what they were saying just a few years ago.

An ESPN article ranked Ginobili second in career regular season winning percentage among the likes of Bob Cousy, Bill Russell and Shaquille O'Neal, coming in behind only Larry Bird. His playoff winning percentage ranked only below Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.

In Spike Lee's movie Kobe Doin' Work, Bryant referred to Ginobili as "a bad boy." In case you don't know, that means the 2009 Finals MVP thinks he's really good.

Ginobili brings intangibles that are hard to measure in statistics alone. And unlike the aforementioned foursome, he's not a volume shooter. He's a deceptively strong, athletic slahser that finishes at the rim, shoots the three and defends at an elite level. His greatest asset, however, may be that he makes the players around him better -- a quality associated with the very best in the game. In the discussion of best wing players this decade, Manu has to be somehwere in the top five.

Despite All-NBA point guard Tony Parker just entering his prime and the presumed good health of Duncan and Ginobili, the Spurs will once again fly under the radar. It may seem like a while to a ravenous fan base and so-called experts, but the Spurs did win the title just two seasons ago.

Granted, San Antonio doesn't enjoy "team to beat" status as they did from 2004 to 2008. But signing a contributing free agent in July or finding a hidden gem in any one of their three second-round draft picks could quickly tilt the discusssion back to the Spurs. But as Popovich ominously foreshadowed before last year's playoffs, San Antonio is going nowhere without Manu.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

ESPN: NBA's 65 In 65: George Gervin


Welcome to The Show! On Tuesday, we continue our 65 in 65. That's 65 NBA chats in 65 days. We will hold an NBA chat each day through the end of the NBA Finals. We'll bring you players, analysts, writers, anyone who can help you fill your NBA fix.

Tuesday's guest is former NBA player George Gervin.

Nicknamed "Iceman" for his cool demeanor on the court, Gervin was known mostly for his scoring talents. His first scoring crown, in 1978, was one of the most memorable moments in NBA history, as he defeated Denver Nuggets forward David Thompson by seven hundredths of a point (27.22 to 27.15). Prior to Michael Jordan, Gervin had the most scoring titles of any guard in league history with four.

Gervin had his No. 44 jersey retired by the San Antonio Spurs and was also named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary Team.

Kevin (Jersey)
Happy belated Ice Man- keep it cool.

George Gervin
(laughing) Thank you very much, I appreciate that!

Jacob Bloomington Illinois
Do you think the Bulls have a chance to beat the Celtics?

George Gervin
If the Bulls keep playing they way that they have been and if the Celtics continue to slip, then the Bulls have a good chance to take this series.

Afonso (Portugal)
Do you think Spurs will get past Mavericks?

George Gervin
That's tough especially being down 3-1. The Spurs will have to play perfect basketball to come back. I remember back it 1978 when we had Washington down 3-1 and they came back to beat us so it is possible.

Quincy (Dayton)
Iceman, how would you compare LeBron's NBA progress to that of Kobe and Jordan at the age of 24?

George Gervin
LeBron's progress has been sensational! All of these guys are phenoms. I don't think we can compare them we just need to appreciate these guys showing dominance at an early age.

Wesley (Gainseville)
Which current NBA player do you think is most comparable to yourself?

George Gervin
I guess I would say Kevin Durant because he is long, he can put the ball on the floor, and he can shoot from anywhere.

Tyron (Delta City)
Who did you pattern your game after?

George Gervin
I didn't really pattern my game after anybody. I'm famous for the finger roll and everybody thinks that I invented it. But I watched guys like Dr. Jay, Wilt Chamberlain and Connie Hawkins and took different pieces of their finger rolls and made it into my own.

Rodney (Sane Fe)
How many more years do you think the Spurs have before they will need to rebuild?

George Gervin
In my opinoin, I think they will start rebuilding in the next year or so. But you have to give it to them, they have won four championships in the years that Tim Duncan has been there but you can only squeeze but so much juice out of an orange.

Jerson Chicago (Illinois)
George, you were my favorite player to watch, I was wondering who you thinks going to win the NBA Championship??

George Gervin
That's a toss up. The Cavs are playing well in the East and the Lakers in the West. It's hard for me to say but I think it will be between the Cavs and the Lakers.

Justin Behling (Boyceville, WI)
Hey George, who is your favorite player of all time and your favorite current player?

George Gervin
Of all-time Julius Erving and current its between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James but I'm going with Kobe.

timmy c. (lancaster, pa)
Ice! Thanks for chatting. What current NBA star has the coolest nickname?

George Gervin
Wow! It would have to be King James. All the real cool nicknames are in the past like Dr. J, Chocolate Thunder, Ice Man ...

George Gervin
Thank you to all the fans for your support. I'll always love the fans because you make the game what it is today.
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