Spurs set attendance record against Warriors at Alamodome

SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs hosted the largest crowd for a regular season game in the NBA in their return to the Alamodome.

The Spurs, celebrating their 50th anniversary season, returned to their old home to take on the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

The official attendance was announced in the third quarter; A Spurs official said 68,323 people were in attendance at the Alamodome for the game against the defending NBA champions.

That breaks the previous record of 62,046 who gathered to watch Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls play the Atlanta Hawks in the Georgia Dome on March 27, 1998.

“Yeah, that’s quite 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. To have so many people, to be able to play in front of them, actually It’s very 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 celebration.

While the Spurs (13-29) are having one of the worst seasons in franchise history, the chance to play at the Alamodome gave fans a chance to relive an earlier era for the team.

“Having my son here with me sharing a memory past and present will be cherished by both of us for years to come,” said Spurs fan Eric Hernandez, who previously attended games at the Alamodome.

The franchise got its start at HemisFair 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 while playing at the Alamodome and held its championship at the downtown facility.

The Alamodome also hosted the 1996 NBA All-Star Game, where Michael Jordan was booed for winning MVP over former San Antonio resident Shaquille O’Neal.

“It’s crazy,” said Taro Kotani, a Spurs fan visiting from Japan. “The amount of people here. I’ve never been inside the Dome, so just imagining what it was like here during the 1996 All-Star Game and the 1999 Finals is so nostalgic. I wasn’t there, but this brings back a lot of memories.”

Kotani planned his annual trip to San Antonio around Friday’s game because he wanted to be a part of history.

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