Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs fell to the Utah Jazz, 118-112, in their final regular season game of the 2019-20 NBA season at Walt Disney world Thursday afternoon.
By virtue of this loss, San Antonio finished the truncated regular season with a 32-39 record and was eliminated from postseason contention.
It’s the first time this team has missed the playoffs since the 1996-97 season. This is a span that includes 19 50-plus win seasons, five NBA titles and 211 more regular-season victories than any other team in the Association.
It ends one of the greatest and most sustained runs in the history of modern professional sports, right up there with the NFL’s New England Patriots.
This also got me thinking. What was happening around the sports world and the rest of the globe when San Antonio last missed the playoffs during the spring of 1997?
Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t even three years old
- The Milwaukee Bucks star wouldn’t turn three until December of 1997. He was legitimately in diapers as his parents raised the league MVP in Athens.
- No one could have envisioned what would come some 23 years later. As San Antonio misses out on the playoffs, the Greek Freak has morphed into the NBA’s next great international star.
Princess Diana’s tragic death
- Pretty much one of the most-renowned women of her time, Diana The Princess of Wales, tragically passed away at the age of just 36.
- News of Diana’s death following a car accident in France threw the entire world for a loop. Her funeral later in 1997 was among the most-watched television events in the history of the world.
- It included Elton John’s now timeless classic “Candle in the Wind,” which was originally written to pay homage to yet another legend in that of Marilyn Monroe.
Microsoft takes the United States by storm
- Created with childhood friend Paul Allen, a man that’s now synonymous with technology in that of Bill Gates led one of the biggest blockbusters in the tech industry.
- Back in 1997, Microsoft became the world’s most valuable company at an estimated $261 billion. Its top product was Microsoft Office 97.
- Nearly a quarter-century later, and the company is valued at $1 trillion. For his part, Bill Gates has an estimated net worth of $113.7 billion.
The bite heard around the world
- Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II was billed as one of the greatest bouts in modern boxing history. It was scheduled for June 28, 1997.
- What happened in New York that summer has been billed as one of the most controversial moments in sports history. Just watch.
- Tyson would end up getting a year-plus suspension from boxing and become the butt of all the jokes.
O.J. Simpson found guilty by civil jury
- Shortly after the Hall of Fame running back was acquitted on double-murder charges, a civil jury found him responsible for the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
- The jury awarded Goldman’s family $8.5 million, a large sum of that they have not seen to this day.
- Meanwhile, Simpson is enjoying the high life in Las Vegas and continues to take to social media.
College football: Florida beats Florida State in Sugar Bowl to earn the national title.
NFL: Green Bay Packers take care of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI by the score of 35-21. Music legend James Brown performed at halftime
MLB: Florida Marlins defeat Cleveland Indians in seven games by virtue of Edgar Renteria’s walk-off hit. It was also the first year of interleague play around the baseball world.
NCAA Tournament: Arizona Wildcats defeat Kentucky Wildcats for championship.
NBA: Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, earn their second repeat of the decade. Jordan’s “flu game” has become something of legend since.
Golf: The prodigy that is Tiger Woods made history by winning The Masters by a record 12 shots. Woods would later go on to become the youngest No. 1 golfer in the history of the sport.