HomeBasketball TodaySpurs' Rodeo Road Trip Turns from Glory to Disaster

Spurs’ Rodeo Road Trip Turns from Glory to Disaster

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The Rodeo Road Trip used to be kind to the Spurs.

The San Antonio Spurs‘ annual Rodeo Road Trip turned 22 years old this season. And just as the name of the arena that annually hosts the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has changed a couple times, so have the team’s fortunes. A stretch that once honed Spurs teams for championship runs now hits low points for a proud franchise struggling to regain past glory.

Initial success of Spurs Rodeo Road Trip

San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Tim Duncan speaks with San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich during the fourth quarter at American Airlines Center
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

When the Spurs moved into the then-SBC Center in 2002, they did so with the agreement that every February they’d hit the road for several weeks.

After losing their first ever Rodeo Road Trip game 106-95 at the Minnesota Timberwolves on January 31st, 2003, San Antonio didn’t lose again on that inaugural winter jaunt. Four months after completing an 8-1 RRT, San Antonio was celebrating the first season that featured Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili with its second NBA championship.

The organization would enjoy winning records in each of its next three late January and February odysseys, including a 5-2 mark in 2005 en route to their third championship. Only once in the first seven years of the Rodeo Road Trip did the Spurs not post a winning record on the annual journey, and that came in 2007—when they went 4-4 and eventually won a fourth championship.

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From 2003 to 2009, the Spurs went 40-16 in games that came while horses, bulls and related shows and events took over their home.

  • 2003: 8-1
  • 2004: 6-1
  • 2005: 5-2
  • 2006: 6-2
  • 2007: 4-4
  • 2008: 6-3
  • 2009: 5-3

Transitional RRTs for the Spurs

After another 4-4 Rodeo Road Trip in 2010, the Spurs ran off four straight successful stretches away from what was then the AT&T Center. It’s a run that included the league’s best overall record in 2011, a Western Conference appearance in 2012, an NBA Finals berth in 2013 and the franchise’s fifth title in 2014.

After their first RRT with a losing record in 2015 (4-5), the Spurs bounced back with two of their best marks through this annual portion of the schedule.

  • 2010: 4-4
  • 2011: 6-3
  • 2012: 8-1
  • 2013: 7-2
  • 2014: 6-3
  • 2015: 4-5
  • 2016: 7-1
  • 2017: 6-2

Rodeo Road Trip Struggles

San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) before the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017-2018 season essentially represented the Spurs first without Kawhi Leonard since 2011. A first-round pick who won the Finals MVP in 2014 played in only nine games that season. Not coincidentally, the San Antonio suffered their worst Rodeo Road Trip with a 2-4 mark. It then got worse the next year at 1-7.

Save for a 2-1 mark in 2021 when four games were postponed for COVID related reasons, the franchise hasn’t enjoyed a true winning RRT since 2017.

2018: 2-4

2019: 1-7

2020: 2-6

2021: 2-1 (4 games postponed)

2022: 4-4

2023: 1-8

2024: 1-8

Following a 4-4 Rodeo Road Trip two years ago, the Spurs have plummeted, posting their worst marks in what’s become an annual February tradition.

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Like last season, the Spurs went 1-8 this month away from the now Frost Bank Center. The lone win against the Toronto Raptors came after losses to the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets and before a setback to the Dallas Mavericks. Coming out of the All-Star break, San Antonio lost all four games against Western Conference foes: the Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves.

While the RRT doesn’t always translate to the quality of season for the Spurs, it often actually does. A 1-8 mark for an 11-48 team fits the mold, and it’s a far cry from Rodeo Road Trips—and Spurs teams—of the past.

Hector Ledesma_headshot

About the Author

Hector Ledesma has been covering the Spurs in San Antonio since 2005, but he has been following them for even longer than that. An award-winning journalist born and raised in San Antonio, Hector has worked across all types of television and radio platforms. His work extends online and through social media (@HectorLedesmaTV) where he continues that work with ClutchPoints.

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