The tens of thousands of people lining the San Antonio River Wednesday night to watch the San Antonio Spurs Championship parade were calm and composed compared to the chaos of Sunday after the Spurs' win of of its fifth NBA championship title.
Calm, but not tame: As river barges turned corners to reveal a waving Tony Parker, Manu Ginóbili, and the 2014 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kawhi Leonard, crowds burst into cheers and chants. San Antonio united once again to celebrate.
Folks who claimed spots along the River Walk parade route as early as 4 p.m. were rewarded with front row seats to see their favorite team's past and current players, coaches, city officials, friends, and family float by on river barges.
The San Antonio Police rerouted heavy traffic through downtown and closed off some intersections, but the crowds dispersed quickly – many fans headed directly towards the Alamodome.
The stadium was at capacity – 72,000, according to its website – by 8 p.m., Alamodome officials had to turn thousands of hopeful fans away at the gates.
From Scott Ball at the Alamodome:
Remember the Alamodome? The place where so many of us grew up watching the Spurs become a good portion of the team they are now? Tim Duncan, Manu Ginóbili, and Tony Parker all once played together in this massive arena, and I couldn't hold the nostalgia back. Just walking through the gigantic concrete hallways and dim lighting brought back so many amazing memories of David Robinson, Vinny Del Negro, and Dennis Rodman. The building became suddenly wide awake when tens of thousands of Spurs fans flooded the seats surrounding the center stage, reaching capacity well before the start of the celebration.
Sean Elliot and Patty Mills co-hosted the event with Patty giving us all a behind the scenes take away to each individual player. Patty told us the meanings behind some nicknames, as well as a few funny happenings, such as Aron Baynes working out so much he passed out while running on a treadmill.
The title "Ranga" was given to Matt Bonner, "BoBo" for Boris Diaw, and "Beast" was bestowed upon Tiago Splitter.
Mills became serious when he started talking about the big three; no nick names were given, just complete respect. Ginobili was questioned about the important role Tim Duncan and Tony Parker played in his life.
"I don't think I spend more time with my wife," he chuckled.
Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard was forced out of his seat by Tim Duncan when Patty Mills raised his arm throwing the signal of Kawhi's nickname "The Claw."
When the Spurs players all raised their arms in unison, the entire stadium was filled with outstretched arms. The future of our team has a few uncertainties with six free agents possibly relocating next season. One thing is for sure, the 2014 San Antonio Spurs will have a legacy as one of the best teams to ever play the game.
Go Spurs Go!