The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they will retire Bruce Bowen’s No. 12 jersey on Wednesday, March 21 when the Spurs host the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bowen’s No. 12 jersey will join James Silas’ No. 13, George Gervin’s No. 44, Johnny Moore’s No. 00, David Robinson’s No. 50, Sean Elliott’s No. 32 and Avery Johnson’s No. 6 in the rafters in the AT&T Center.
“Bruce Bowen was the premier perimeter defender in the NBA for close to a decade,” said Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich. “His success is proof that hard work and determination do, in fact, pay off. Statistics are meaningless when talking about his importance to this franchise. The simple fact is the Spurs don’t win NBA Championships in 2003, 2005 and 2007 without Bruce Bowen.”
Bowen joined the Spurs on July 31, 2001. He spent nine seasons (2001-09) in San Antonio and appeared in 630 games, one of just eight players to appear in 600-plus games with the Spurs. Bowen started in every game he played in for the Silver and Black, averaging 6.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 31.2 minutes.
The 6-7 guard out of Cal State Fullerton earned a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive Team in eight of his nine seasons with the Spurs (was a second team selection in 2001, 2002 and 2003 before earning first team honors in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008). Bowen is one of five swingmen in NBA history to earn All-Defensive Team honors in eight-or-more straight seasons joining Scottie Pippen (10 straight from 1991-00), Bobby Jones (nine straight from 1977-85), John Havlicek (eight straight from 1969-76) and Michael Cooper (eight straight from 1981-88).
On Feb. 22, 2002, Bowen started a streak of 500 consecutive games played and started which lasted until March 14, 2008. The streak was the longest in the NBA at the time and is the longest in Spurs franchise history, surpassing Avery Johnson’s mark of 296 consecutive games.
Bowen ranks second on the Spurs all-time leaders list in three-pointers made (661) and attempted (1,632). He shot 40.5 percent from downtown during his nine seasons with the Silver and Black which ranks seventh all-time. In 2003-04 Bowen led the NBA in three-point shooting with a .441 (101-229) mark from downtown.
Bowen was a part of three NBA Championship teams with the Spurs. He appeared in 122 playoff games, averaging 6.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists. His .438 (161-368) shooting percentage from three-point range ranks second among Spurs all-time playoff leaders.
A leader on and off the court, Bowen earned the NBA’s Community Assist Award twice (March 2005 and January 2006) for his efforts in the San Antonio community. In 2004 Bowen launched GET FIT with Bruce and Buddy, a comprehensive program aimed towards fighting childhood obesity in San Antonio. Nearly 15,000 boys and girls participated in the program.
In 13 NBA seasons Bowen appeared in 873 regular season games, averaging 6.1 points, 2.8 assists and 1.2 rebounds in 27.6 minutes. After playing several seasons in France and the Continental Basketball Association, he made his NBA debut in 1996-97 with the Miami Heat. Bowen also saw action with the Boston Celtics (1997-99), Philadelphia 76ers (1999-2000) and made a return trip to Miami (2000-01) before eventually making his mark in San Antonio.