This is the most Spurs-est Spurs situation of all-time.
Bowen is a guy who was known as a ball-hawking player that played with Hall of Famers and shut down the opponents’ best player. He could definitely stroke the three as well. He was on three championship teams, but never won the NBA defensive player of the year award. Calling him a role player isn’t quite appropriate, but he was definitely not a star. Some people thought he played the game the wrong way, and there’s even a YouTube video titled “Bruce Bowen Dirty Player Mix.” Only the Spurs would retire a player like Bowen’s number.
The San Antonio Spurs are that franchise that your parents tell you that you should be more like. “Look, THE SPURS got their homework done early and that’s why they can go out and play.” “See, look at how THE SPURS are knocking out their summer reading list while you watch television.” “The SPURS just got engaged, what happened to that girlfriend of yours?” “Oh, THE SPURS, they seem so happy together.”
Of course people are unretiring questionably retired numbers just to be part of the family. Could you imagine this happening with any other franchise? Absolutely not. I feel like other franchises might accidentally award someone a retired number, and then try to tap dance out with this type of excuse. Instead, the Spurs are all over it, sharing everything better than every organization in American professional sports. The fact that they constantly win makes it sort of impossible to question anything they do.
Good for you, LaMarcus Alridge. You get to wear your high school number in peace, and nobody’s ever gonna say “he’s no Bruce Bowen” except maybe Bruce Bowen himself, while wearing a bow tie on TV. Then, you’ll all go back to the backyard cookout in paradise that is being a Spur, where George Gervin is flipping burgers and David Robinson is mixing drinks.
They’d probably even still let Dennis Rodman show up.