SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs hosted the largest crowd for a regular season game in the NBA upon their return to the Alamodome.
The Spurs, celebrating their 50th anniversary, returned to their old home on Friday night to take on the Golden State Warriors.
Official appearances were announced in the third quarter; A Spurs official stated that 68,323 people were in attendance at the Alamodome for the game against the defending NBA champions.
This broke the previous record of 62,046 who gathered at the Georgia Dome on March 27, 1998 to watch Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls play the Atlanta Hawks.
“Yeah, it’s pretty different,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said of the record crowd. “It’s a situation where you know … are they selling alcohol? I think people will be very excited. It’s an exciting time for everyone. It’s nostalgic for everyone. For so many people To be able to play in front of them, it’s really exciting. We hope it’s a good game.”
San Antonio now plays its home games at the AT&T Center, but returned to the Alamodome as part of the franchise’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
While the Spurs (13-29) are coming off one of the worst seasons in franchise history, the chance to play at the Alamodome gives fans a chance to relive an earlier era for the team.
Spurs fan Eric Hernandez said, “Having my son here sharing memories past and present with me will be something we both will cherish for years to come.”
The franchise originated in Hemisphere Arena in 1973, but the Alamodome is where the franchise took its first steps in becoming one of the most respected in the NBA.
The Spurs played at the Alamodome from 1993–2002 before moving 3.1 miles south to the AT&T Center.
San Antonio won its first NBA championship in 1999 playing at the Alamodome and has held its championships at the downtown facility.
The Alamodome also hosted the 1996 NBA All-Star Game, where Michael Jordan was booed to win the MVP over former San Antonio native Shaquille O’Neal.
“It’s crazy,” said Taro Kotani, a Spurs fan visiting from Japan. “There are so many people here. I’ve never been inside the Dome, so imagine what it was like to be here during the 1996 All-Star Game and the 1999 Finals. Lots of memories.”
Kotani plans his annual trip to San Antonio around Friday’s game because he wants to be a part of history.