The 1950s-60s Boston Celtics dynasty, to which every subsequent NBA championship run gets compared, lasted 13 seasons. The Magic Johnson Lakers faded after 12 seasons. The running of the Jordan Bulls? Eight seasons.

San Antonio’s looking to slap NBA title bookends on 15 seasons of excellence.

That’s an NBA title in a lockout-shortened season followed by 14 consecutive 50-win seasons, among which the Spurs sprinkled three more NBA championships and now have a shot at a fifth.

Expansion and free agency didn’t pre-empt such consistency in professional team sports. But the grudging fade of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings leaves San Antonio as the most consistent success show among the major professional sports. That can be said now that the Spurs returned to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007.

“It feels like forever since we’ve been to this point,” San Antonio center Tim Duncan said after San Antonio swept Memphis in the Western Conference Final. “We’ve been on the verge of getting here. In the last couple of years, we still feel we’re in contention, but we can’t get over that hump to get back in the Finals. It’s just an amazing feeling, honestly.”

Asked if he was worried the Spurs might never get back there, Duncan said, “Nothing’s promised. I don’t know if there was doubt. I would hope we did, but nothing’s promised.”

Reported by David J. Neal of the Miami Herald