SAN ANTONIO (USA TODAY) - When the San Antonio Spurs reached the pinnacle for the first of five times and sparked this era that wouldn't end, the player who would hoist the 2014 NBA Finals MVP trophy was an eight-year-old growing up in the Southern California town of Moreno Valley.
It's that sustained success, more than anything else, that makes their run so remarkable.
Fifteen years later, coach Gregg Popovich and his band of old men did it again on Sunday night inside a raucous AT&T Center — with a whole lot of help from 22-year-old Kawhi Leonard. Their 104-87 Game 5 closeout win in the NBA Finals — one in which Leonard had 22 points and 10 rebounds — not only ended the Miami Heat's three-peat bid but polished the already-shiny legacy of the big man whose arrival from Wake Forest in 1997 started this whole special run, Tim Duncan.
"It makes last year OK," Duncan said on the court after the game, speaking of losing in 2013 to the Heat.