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Monday, January 23rd, 2012 at 4:43 pm  |  54 responses

San Antonio Spurs Retiring Bruce Bowen’s Jersey


Bruce Bowen, the man that only a San Antonio Spurs fan could ever love, is getting his jersey raised to the rafters. Per the team website: “The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they will retire Bruce Bowen’s No. 12 jersey on Wednesday, March 21 when the Spurs host the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bowen’s No. 12 jersey will join James Silas’ No. 13, George Gervin’s No. 44, Johnny Moore’s No. 00, David Robinson’s No. 50, Sean Elliott’s No. 32 and Avery Johnson’s No. 6 in the rafters in the AT&T Center. ‘Bruce Bowen was the premier perimeter defender in the NBA for close to a decade,’ said Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich. ‘His success is proof that hard work and determination do, in fact, pay off. Statistics are meaningless when talking about his importance to this franchise. The simple fact is the Spurs don’t win NBA Championships in 2003, 2005 and 2007 without Bruce Bowen.’ Bowen joined the Spurs on July 31, 2001. He spent nine seasons (2001-09) in San Antonio and appeared in 630 games, one of just eight players to appear in 600-plus games with the Spurs. Bowen started in every game he played in for the Silver and Black, averaging 6.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 31.2 minutes. The 6-7 guard out of Cal State Fullerton earned a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive Team in eight of his nine seasons with the Spurs (was a second team selection in 2001, 2002 and 2003 before earning first team honors in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008). Bowen is one of five swingmen in NBA history to earn All-Defensive Team honors in eight-or-more straight seasons joining Scottie Pippen (10 straight from 1991-00), Bobby Jones (nine straight from 1977-85), John Havlicek (eight straight from 1969-76) and Michael Cooper (eight straight from 1981-88) [...] Bowen ranks second on the Spurs all-time leaders list in three-pointers made (661) and attempted (1,632). He shot 40.5 percent from downtown during his nine seasons with the Silver and Black which ranks seventh all-time.”

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  • slamfan4life

    dude deserves it; congrats

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I think more teams should do this for integral role players. Chicago should do it for Toni Kukoc (imo). Same with LAL and Derek Fisher when he retires. idk about actually retiring their number though. just the jersey as homage.

  • Mike Mihalow

    Good for him.

  • http://ZOGS.COM ZOGS

    Teams should only retire LENGENDS

  • Mike Mihalow

    @ZOGS
    Yeah, LEGENDS for their franchises. There’s only so many NBA Legends.

  • robb

    karate kick!

  • tomtom

    Well deserved. Such an important member of those chip teams.

  • http://www.bballchannel.fr/ Bballchannel

    Bruce “Lee” Bowen. Love him!

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    Screw Bruce Bowen. That dude is dirty.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    Wow, I’m kind of surprised by the responses to this article. In my mind, this has to be the least deserved jersey retirement in NBA history. So now we’re retiring jerseys for so so players on championship teams? So the Bulls should retire Toni Kukoc, Steve Kerr, Ron Harper, and Luc Longly’s jerseys? The Lakers should retire Trevor Ariza’s jersey? I’ll see you all at the Celtic’s retirement ceremony of Big Baby Davis’s jersey. We’d get to triple digit jersey numbers in no time. Bowen’s stats are horrible. He’s basically getting acknowledged for finding a way to be the dirtiest player in the league during his time and finding a way to get away with it.

  • burnt_chicken

    We used to call landing on someone’s intentionally placed foot when taking a jumpshot “getting bowened”. If they kept sprained ankles as a stat category, dude would be first ballot HOF. Goon.

  • Shifty

    Really it’s up the teams associations to decide who gets there jersey retired. They have there reasons for doing it. But I agree with some of the other comments in terms of it shud be the jersey and not the number being retired.

  • dywm

    You got a date with the Octopus

  • capostat

    At the very least, the Spurs should send invites to Vince, Nash, and Amare.

  • LA Huey

    I follow the NBA more than just casually and I’m not even 100% sure what number Bowen wore. I don’t think you need to have won a chip for your team but if you put in some All-NBA seasons and inspired ballers that came after you, you should have your jersey retired (ie. Penny Hardaway). But I’m with Diesel on this one.

  • i_ball

    Well deserved! They don’t win any of those three without him! If you change him for any other player, they don’t win!
    You can argue about that. But half the game the team is defending and he was the best in terms of that!

  • Bubz

    Go Titans! He’ll be the only Titan to EVER have his jersey retired in the NBA.

  • http://anyoldthing Ugh

    @Diesel – You don’t know about the Heat retiring Michael Jordan’s jersey, obviously.

  • Mariano

    @Diesel I don’t see why he doesn’t deserve it… I mean, if it wasn’t for him then I don’t see how the Spurs would’ve won in ’03, ’05, and ’07, Bowen was the one doing the dirty work guarding guys like Kobe, Lebron, and Nash

  • http://www.t-mac.com/tmac/index unf*ckwitable

    the ankle killer.

  • Jose

    Retire Haslem’s Jeresy one day! . . .

  • iLLwiLL

    Grimey!

  • NJ4Life

    Bruce Bowen’s a b!tch that had to play dirty to check people.

  • Joe

    Think about it folks, If Bruce Bowen was as good on offense as he was on Defense, people would be asking why the Spurs are just now retiring his number……Don’t overlook or underestimate defenders! Defense Wins Championships!

  • Conor O.

    Bowen obviously deserves this.

  • http://chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls Diesel

    @Mariano – you can have that same argument for every single player that I listed above. If Steve Kerr wasn’t on those Bulls team to hit open 3′s and space the floor, then defenses collapse on Jordan and Pippen. And without Steve Kerr you don’t have that game winning jumper in the finals. Like I said, least deserving number retirement of all time. Including the heat retiring Jordan’s number.

  • http://www.cnbc.com/ JTaylor21

    Bruce Bowen? The spurs have a walking legend on their team in Gary Neal why are they wasting time on the past

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    Bruce Bowen was a great defender. Integral role player, without a doubt. But if his jersey is going up, those are going to be really packed rafters in San Antonio.

  • Mariano

    @Diesel Steve Kerr wasn’t as important to the Bulls as Bowen was to the Spurs… Hell Bowen made more 3′s in each of SA’s championship runs than Kerr in Chicago’s championship runs… In the 2005 post-season Bowen played more minutes in total than Ginobili! Plus he’s an 8 time NBA All-Defensive team, so why not?

  • l2ising Phoenix

    Bruce was dirtyyyyy as hell.. that sticking your foot while someones landing move he did often gives me nightmares, sprained ankles ain’t a joke! Correct me if I’m wrong but Bruce successfully smothered Lebron in the 07 final, felt sorry for Cleveland that year :’l

  • T-Money

    Bowen was a f-ckboy that would intentionally try to injure guys. I can’t condone that. And let’s be real, if that’s the bar to retire numbers now, rafters will be crowded in the league.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Dagger

    Diesel did you just compare Trevor Ariza to Bruce Bowen? Seriously?

  • shutup

    As a spurs fan It’s good to see this, dirty? ehhh, defense is dirty work, in a world obsessed with scoring of course someone that plays defense is gonna be vilified, as for the Kerr example thats rubbish because Kerr was replaceable he actually replaced Paxton, Bowen was crucial and he deserves this honor

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    If the Lakers don’t retire Michael Cooper’s jersey, no way Bowen should have his number raised.

  • http://onthacorner.com/forum Kevin

    I sense anger and caught feelings all throughout the comments here. Bruce deserves it, without him the Spurs dont get 3 titles. He was an integral part of that squad and one of the league’s premier perimeter defenders for majority of the decade. Get mad

  • Da-Meat_Hook

    If the bulls don’t retire Dennis Rodman’s or Horace Grant’s jerseys, no way Bowen should have his number raised.

  • Da-Meat_Hook

    @ Kevin, without Deshawn Stephenson, the Mavs don’t win the title last year . . . He was an integral part of the squad and one of the league’s premier perimeter defenders. See what I did there?

  • haslem

    deshawn stephenson wasn’t all defensive team eight seasons for the mavs and they won one title with him, not three. can you really not see the difference? besides, this isn’t the hall of fame, it’s less about stats and more about what the player meant to the franchise/fans.

  • TBEASTIN

    ahhh…dirty Bruce Bowens. as much as i can’t stand him and his floppy antics, this is well deserved. he did do a lot for the Spurs, namely kicking dudes in the shins, holding jerseys as guys are trying to cut to the rim, fake taking charges, tripping guys, and pretty much making Ray Allen’s life as a shooter a living hell. But good job Dirty Bruce, i still hate you.

  • Justin G.

    I’m with Diesel. Worst jersey retire ever and yes that also includes the Miami/Jordan jersey retirement. The entire league should have retired Jordan’s number the way hockey did for Gretzky’s 99 but that’s a whole different topic. Whoever said if this is the criteria as far as integral to the team winning because of his defense meaning Michael Cooper also having his number retired is spot on. Integral role players don’t get their jerseys retired. The stars do.

  • http://www.huwlhopkins.com #6marjon

    this just in greg ostertag to have his jersey retired by the jazz

    na just kidding love bruce bowen. big spurs fan and they’re retiring it regardless of his numbers, its to do with his effect on the city, the community and the championships. can’t people be rewarded for the extra curricular things they do on top of basketball?

  • http://Www.slamonline.com TADOne

    Let’s see: Duncan, Parker, Ginobili….not to mention the ’03 team still had Robinson and also Steve Smith and Stephen Jackson. The ’05 team had Horry and Glenn Robinson and ’07 had Michael Finley and Brent Barry. I’m quite sure the Spurs would have won without Bowen those years.

  • ab40

    I don’t know about retiring his jersey. What I do know is that this guy was the best wing defender in the L for a long period of time and a great three point shooter. I think a bruce bowen night should be appropriate a whole retirement ceremony meh I don’t know. But if you appreciate Defense like the spurs do you just do it.

  • Dingo Rob

    Man Michael Cooper does deserve it

  • Justin G.

    Close call. Cooper played such great defense too without having to be dirty like Bowen

  • http://www.fullc0urtpress.com K.Holiday

    Not sure how I feel about Bruce Bowen’s jersey being retired, but thats probably why I dont make executive decisions for sports franchises! This is crazy!

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    I was joking about the Stephenson comparison . . . But dead serious about Michael Cooper, Horace Grant, and Dennis Rodman (Bulls) being more integral for their championship teams and bringing more to the table than Bruce Bowen.

  • D

    Bruce Bowen was trash , I never ever respected his hack style defense

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    Happy for the guy can’t hate on his success BUT I agree with a lot of people here he was a dirty bastard on that court. Landing on someone’s foot can be dangerous and it hurts like hell. So why would he make a living doing that? But hey Kobe gave black eyes for slapping people after a jumpshot and we praise him so I’m seeing the trend.

  • BillyQ

    Worst baller to ever have his number retired. This guy was filth.

  • TRUEHEATFAN

    Bruce Bowen made his NBA debut when he was signed to a ten-day contract by the Miami Heat (1st year under PAT RILEY)

  • Justin G.

    T-Ray, those were isolated incidents with Kobe and not the norm like it was for Bowen. @Da Meat Hook…I agree with Rodman and Grant. People forget that for awhile there Horace Grant was the best defensive power forward in the league, right there with Charles Oakley. While Oakley would deny you position on the block and grab a lot of boards, Grant could block shots and guard a little more on the perimeter while also getting his boards.

  • Rey Andrade

    If Bowen had done this for a media darling like LA or Boston Miami or NY no one would dispute it. They would be erecting statues for him. Hating on him is an ultimate tribute of respect. He isnt marginal when it comes to who he stopped from getting rings like Vince Nash Amare or Lebron and u know what? he’s been retired and they can’t blame him for them having zero chips. They stay losers to this and when they come to the Spurs arena there will be a banner in the rafters to remind them how marginal they are.

  • Darren

    Bruce Bowen’s number retired? He was a great defender but retired numbers are for all-time greats, HOF caliber or close to HOF caliber. Bowen won’t even be considered for the HOF.
    If his number is being retired, then so should every good defensive player in the league.
    Complete joke.

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