Spurs presser highlights Elliott's return from transplant 17 years ago

SAN ANTONIO - Spurs Sports & Entertainment announced Tuesday that it has entered a partnership with the Methodist Healthcare System.

Methodist Healthcare will be the official health care partner for the Spurs and all SS&E franchises.

That list includes the Austin Spurs (NBA D-League), San Antonio FC (USL), San Antonio Rampage (AHL) and the San Antonio Stars (WNBA).

Under terms of the partnership, SS&E will have access to Methodist Healthcare’s team of nutritionists, doctors and facilities.

Methodist Healthcare also joined in a partnership with Sports Medicine Associates of San Antonio, which is led by Dr. David Schmidt, the Spurs’ senior team physician.

The partnership was announced at a news conference Tuesday afternoon at the AT&T Center.

Fittingly, former Spurs forward Sean Elliott, who had a kidney transplant two months after helping the franchise win its first NBA title in 1999, served as emcee.

The event took place on the 17th anniversary of Elliott’s first game back with the Silver and Black on March 14, 2000 after having his surgery seven months before.

He received a kidney from his older brother Noel.

Dr. Francis Wright, who performed the surgery at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital in San Antonio, was at Tuesday’s news conference.

Elliott started against the Atlanta Hawks, and finished with two points in the Spurs’ 94-79 victory at the Alamodome. He made 1 of 3 shots and added one rebound and one assist in 12 minutes.

“Seventeen years ago today,” Elliott said after the news conference.

Elliott, who turned 49 last month, was asked if he gets emotional every March 14.

“No, not really,” Elliott said. “I think about it, for sure, but I don’t get too emotional. It’s been a long time. Actually, I’m just grateful that I was able to do it. Sometimes I look back, as old as I am now, and I go, ‘Who’s that guy who’s out there?’ It seems so long ago.

“Now I’ve been the (TV) announcer for the team for pretty much the entire time after that, so I’ve actually been an announcer longer than a player. It kind of seems like it has been a whole lifetime ago.

Elliott recalled when he learned he was going to start in his first game back.

“It was just a great experience because I remember at shootaround that day Pop was going through the starting lineup and he goes, ‘Let’s just go back to the way we should be playing.’ He was like ‘Sean, you’re starting at 3 (small forward),'"

“I was like ‘Wait a minute.’ That was a great feeling for Pop to do that because I know that he always likes to bring guys off the bench in those situations and try bring them back slowly, but he just threw me into the fire.” Elliott said.

We asked if Elliott remembered the thunderous ovation he received when he was introduced with the starting lineup before the game.

“I heard it was loud, but at that time I was too focused on trying to stick to the game plan and what I had to do out there,” Elliott said.

Elliott averaged 11.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists on the Silver and Black’s first title team. His game-winning 3-pointer against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals came to be known as the "Memorial Day Miracle" in Spurs lore.  

Elliott played 12 seasons in the league, including one with Detroit in 1993-94. San Antonio traded Elliott to the Pistons in October 1993, but he returned to the Silver and Black in a trade the following July.

Elliott retired after the 2000-01 season.

A color commentator for local TV broadcasts of Spurs games since 2004, Elliott averaged 14.2 points. 4.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists in his career. He averaged 14.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists in his 11 seasons with the Silver and Black.

Elliott starred at Arizona before being selected by the Spurs with the third overall pick in the 1989 NBA draft. His jersey number (32) was retired by the Spurs on March 6, 2005.

 

 

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