SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs are returning to the Alamodome to play in front of a record-setting crowd, so let's take a trip down memory lane and look back at some of the biggest moments the team had in that building.
The Spurs called the cavernous dome home from 1993 to 2002. Many players hated shooting in such a big building, but the extra seats and affordable prices meant more fans could see some unforgettable games, historic performances, a water cannon snafu and even a miracle.
Friday's game will likely draw in around 65,000 fans, which will set a new attendance record for a regular-season NBA game. This event will celebrate 50 years of the Spurs in San Antonio, and take its own special place in the history of the franchise and stadium. Here are some of the other iconic moments fans may be reminiscing about when they gather at the Alamodome.
Jordan's Bulls vs. the Twin Towers
In March of 1998, Tim Duncan was making a name for himself as the Rookie of the Year while Michael Jordan was in hot pursuit of his sixth ring and second threepeat with the Bulls.
That Last Dance team came through San Antonio for a marquee matchup against a Spurs squad led by Duncan and David Robinson. In the first quarter Duncan drove for what looked like a sure dunk before Michael came flying in as a help defender for the block. On the very next possession, Timmy returned the favor and swatted Mike's signature fadeaway.
Robinson wound up outscoring Jordan 35 to 30, and Dennis Rodman put together a perfectly Dennis Rodman stat line with 0 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Duncan had a double double, but had 5 turnovers in the 96-86 loss. It was the only game Jordan's Bulls played against Duncan's Spurs in San Antonio, a unique overlap in two transcendent careers.
Tim Duncan's career-high 53
Duncan wasn't the kind of all-time great who got huge scoring nights regularly, especially in his style and era, but the stars aligned in December of 2001. He was in his physical prime and absolutely on one when the Spurs hosted the Mavericks at the dome.
There were some truly magnificent plays, including his first bucket where he picked up a loose one in the defensive end and took it coast to coast for a power jam.
Duncan put on a clinic in the post against Dirk and finished with a career-high 53 points and 11 boards, but the Mavericks won 126-123 in overtime.
David Robinson's quadruple-double
The Admiral put up some pretty insane stat lines in his career with the Spurs. While his 71-point game to clinch the scoring title was stupendous, that came as a visitor in Los Angeles. He also made history in the Alamodome, notching a quadruple-double in a feat that hasn't (officially) been done since in an NBA game.
It was already a special night, as fan favorite Sean Elliott played his only game ever as a visitor in San Antonio after the Spurs traded him to the Pistons for Dennis Rodman.
Robinson couldn't be stopped, finishing with 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 blocks in the win. It was only the fourth quadruple-double in league history, and half of them belong to the Spurs since Alvin Robertson notched one with steals. Wilt never did it, nobody ever scored more than Robinson in one, and nobody has done it since (unless you count the one that Tim Duncan was robbed of in the 2003 NBA Finals).
1996 All-Star Game
San Antonio hosted All-Star weekend a few years into their stay at the Alamodome, and it was one of the biggest venues ever for a game like that with over 35,000 fans in attendance.
Hometown heroes David Robinson and Sean Elliott made the game, but a hometown guy in Shaquille O'Neal wound up putting Robinson on a fiesta-colored poster. The jerseys and warmups remain one of the most iconic designs in the illustrious history of the All-Star game, and Jordan won MVP.
The Water Cannon Game
The Spurs went big for their home opener against the Warriors in 1994. They opted for some pregame pyrotechnics, and the dome's advanced fire safety system didn't like that one bit. A water cannon drenched fans with water that reportedly didn't smell so great, and it took a few minutes to stop it which meant there were thousands of gallons to clean up.
The towels came out, and after an indoor rain delay that lasted about an hour game action was finally underway.
For each of the five banners currently hanging in the AT&T Center, the Spurs have held a victory parade to celebrate with the city. The River Walk barges are perhaps the most iconic part of those parades, but each of them ended with a big party at a packed Alamodome.
The Spurs won their first title in 1999 when they were playing at the dome, winning the first two at home before eventually clinching the championship in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden in between games of "Starcraft" at the hotel. 39,554 fans came out for Game 2, setting an Alamodome attendance record for an NBA game.
Though the Spurs didn't finish at the dome that year, it was the site of one of the most memorable plays in franchise history, without which the team's first title might not have happened.
Memorial Day Miracle
The Spurs were hosting the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, and they were looking for a hero to finish an 18-point comeback and put them up 2-0 in the series.
There were 12 seconds left, and San Antonio trailed 85-83 after Portland split a pair of free throws. Mario Elie inbounded from halfcourt, and threw it down the sideline to Sean Elliott in the corner. Stacey Augmon had followed him around a screen and went over the top trying for a steal, but wound up missing and falling out of the play.
Elliott came within millimeters of stepping out, but found his balance and took one dribble to his right side before lining up a three with his heel hovering above the sideline. He let it fly just over the outstretched fingertips of Ben Wallace, drilling his sixth 3 of the game and the most important shot of his career to give the Spurs their first lead of the game.
The place went ballistic. Elliott and Robinson combined for a stop on the other end, and the rest is history.
Back Home at the Dome
In honor of the Spurs' 50th season in the Alamo City, they're heading back to the Alamodome for one night only this Friday. It'll be the first time they play in the old barn in over two decades, and they'll likely be doing it in front of the biggest crowd that has ever attended a regular-season NBA game.
The Spurs announced that they'd sold almost 65,000 tickets and opened up some standing room options as well. Currently the record is held by Jordan's Bulls and the Hawks; they played in front of 62,046 at the Georgia Dome in 1998.
The game on Friday will feature commemorative merch, special fan experiences and a trip back to the '90s with rap duo Tag Team performing. Here's what you need to know before heading out for another very special entry into the Spurs' history books at the Alamodome.