The Window Is Closing on The Los Angeles Lakers

The San Antonio Spurs have won four NBA Championships since 1999.  They have put together one of the greatest decades by a team in history.  

In David Robinson and Tim Duncan, they have featured two of the greatest post players of all-time.  They have given Spurs fans everything that they could possibly have hoped for, and then some.

And it's all coming to an end.

No one expects a franchise to maintain its dominance forever.  Inevitably, the team will hit a dry spell in the draft (think the recent drafts of the New England Patriots), or will succumb to Father Time's influence on an athlete's body.  

Every great team is eventually forced to go through The Season.  It is the year in which the dominance is officially over, the year where no fan nor expert can reasonably predict another magical playoff run or one more special game.  It is The Season in which we bid our final farewells to the dynasty, and welcome in a new era in a sport.

While San Antonio has not yet reached that point, it is approaching quickly.  For the 1960s Celtics, it was the 1970 season, in which a team that had won 11 out of 13 titles finished with a losing record.  The 1970s Miami Dolphins, following a run of 67-16, fell to 6-8 in 1976.  For the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, it was 1994, when the team missed the postseason for the first time since 1976.  The great Bulls of the 1990s failed in 1999, albeit a bit predictably.

While each of these great teams dominated to different degrees, the common theme among them is eventual failure.  This failure is brought about in different manners; for the '60s Celtics, it was the retirements of Bill Russell and Bob Cousy; for the '70s Dolphins, it was the departures of running backs Mercury Morris, Jim Kiick, and Larry Csonka; for the '80s Lakers, it was the retirements of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson; for the '90s Bu...

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