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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Monday, June 28, 1999

Fans have fiesta celebrating Spurs' title

AP Sports Writer

SAN ANTONIO Spurs fans didn't want the party to end.

All weekend the city cheered the first NBA championship won by its only major league sports team after 26 years of struggle.

The celebration peaked Sunday night with a Fiesta-style river parade attended by 230,000 people and a tribute afterward for the team at the Alamodome.

"It feels good. Everything came together this year perfectly," Spurs center David Robinson told ecstatic parade-goers. "Our team came together. The city came together."

Players, coaches, team executives and a few devoted fans rode decorated, motorized barges along the San Antonio River through downtown as spectators lined the River Walk to watch. It was reminiscent of the city's annual Fiesta celebration each spring.

Avery Johnson, the 5-foot-11 point guard who hit the winning jump shot against the New York Knicks on Friday to capture the title, was the star of the show at the dome.

Johnson introduced his fellow players, cracked jokes about their personalities, made fun of the fact that he was twice cut by the Spurs and led approximately 40,000 fans in chants and cheers.

"I just want to ask you a question," Johnson said to the dome crowd. "Did the Lakers win the championship?"

"No," the fans yelled.

"Did the Portland Trail Blazers win the championship?"

"No," screamed the fans.

"Did the Utah Jazz win the championship?"

The crowd responded with a huge "No," and Johnson added, "With the Utah Jazz, it's all right to say `Hell, no!' "

"I just want to ask you a question. ... Did the San Antonio Spurs win the championship?" Johnson asked.

The fans went wild.

The Spurs came to San Antonio in 1973 as part of the American Basketball Association and merged into the NBA in 1976. San Antonio is the first old ABA team to win an NBA title.

This was the team's first trip to the NBA Finals.

"It's been so fantastic to see David Robinson and Avery Johnson get their due," said 11-year season-ticket holder Kevin Conroy, who rescheduled his cancer radiation treatments so he could attend the NBA Finals.

Entering the Alamodome to the song, "We Are the Champions," Spurs players hopped onto a stage where the basketball court normally is and waved to the crowd as team members showed off the Larry O'Brien title trophy.

Robinson, a 10-year veteran, thanked the Spurs players of the past.

"One of the reasons I came here was because y'all had a tradition. The name I knew was George Gervin," Robinson said.


 Slack competition in steer roping, steer wrestling and team roping will get underway at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena, to start off the 1999 West of the Pecos Rodeo. A special section of slack competition, including bull riding and barrel racing, will be held Wednesday evening at the rodeo arena, with the first official night of competition on Thursday, beginning at 8:30 p.m.

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