Spurs win top NBA draft pick, eyeing Victor Wembanyama

From Victor to Victorious

Photo by Reginald Thomas II/San Antonio Spurs

Generational talent is on its way to south Texas again. The San Antonio Spurs won the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday night, securing the right to select Victor Wembanyama, the 7-foot-4 French phenom long considered the top prospect in the upcoming draft.

With a record of 22-60 in 2023, the Spurs finished in a tie with Houston for the second-worst record in the league, better only than the Detroit Pistons at 17-65. (Thankfully, a great game day experience and meaningful outreach seem to balance that out in the eyes of fans.) The bottom three teams in the NBA have a 14 percent chance of winning the top pick in the lottery each year.

San Antonio will thus have the first choice in the draft for the third time in franchise history. The club has not missed in making its previous No. 1 selections, taking two other 7-footers who became NBA Hall-of-Famers: David Robinson in 1987 and Tim Duncan in 1999. Each would win multiple NBA titles with the club and form the cornerstones of a dynasty for a decade-plus after Duncan’s arrival.

The Spurs also have had a history of success with French players, most notably Tony Parker — their first-round pick in 2001, and another member of the NBA Hall of Fame and that championship dynasty. Parker now owns the French professional team that Wembanyama has played for during the last three seasons.

Greg Popovich, the coach who has presided over all five Spurs championships, is still at the helm in San Antonio. In Wembanyama, he now has a new centerpiece to build his team around.

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San Antonio Spurs break NBA ticket records with 50th Anniversary celebration at the Alamodome

Back Home in the Dome

As the Spurs continue celebrating their 50th anniversary this season, Friday night will be one of the biggest celebrations of them all — and not just by San Antonio standards. Tipping off at 6:30 pm, the game against defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors not only marks the Spurs' first return to the Alamodome since 2002, but is also set to break the NBA's single-game attendance record.

According to NBA.com, Friday’s matchup will be only the fourth NBA game with an attendance exceeding 50,000. So far, 64,387 people are set to attend the historic event, as of January 12 around 10 am, when the Spurs released released additional tickets to meet high demand.

Apart from breaking NBA records, this is also the most tickets ever sold for a single Spurs game, according to that release: The Alamodome was originally configured to accommodate 65,000 fans, so these additional tickets are comprised of standing-room-only on the floor, single seats and seating with limited views.

Feature limited-edition merchandise, a pre-game light show, a halftime performance by '90s rap duo Tag Team, and more, the celebrations will start well before the game and are set to continue hours later. Following the game, a postgame party will take place on the H-E-B Plaza north of the Alamodome with food, drinks, merchandise, and live music, capped off by fireworks. The fireworks will last 10 minutes, beginning at approximately 10:10 p.m.

Understandably, both the team and the City of San Antonio are encouraging fans to arrive early on Friday, which will serve as the biggest celebration for the Spurs 50th Anniversary season. (Don't worry about boredom if you arrive too early, though: Doors open at 4:30 pm, but entertainment and merchandise shopping will be available on the H-E-B Plaza beginning at 4 pm.)

The City of San Antonio announced earlier this week that parking at the Alamodome was already sold out, detailing alternatives in the area, as well as public transit options. Fans are encouraged to take advantage of the extended VIA Park & Ride services, which will be provided to and from the AT&T Center (1 AT&T Center Pkwy.) and Crossroads (151 Crossroads Blvd.) locations. Parking at both locations is free, and the cost for the service is $1.30 each way, running from 2:30 – 11:30 pm. Find more info here.

The City is also offering free parking, as available, for ticket holders entering between 3-6 pm at the City Tower (117 W. Commerce St.; enter from Main or Flores streets) and St. Mary’s (205 E. Travis St.) garages.

Fans can find a detailed game day guide at Spurs.com/DomeInfo and more information on public parking here. Still haven't bought your ticket? Single game tickets for the Spurs 50th Anniversary celebration at the Alamodome are still available for purchase at Spurs.com and on Ticketmaster.

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8 San Antonio area celebrations putting the oom-pah-pah in Oktoberfest


One need not look far to see why Oktoberfest is such a big deal in San Antonio. The city’s German heritage is everywhere, from historical homes at the Hemisfair, to the names of streets like Wurzbach and Huebner. Even those who don’t have a drop of Bavarian blood know a good party when they see one.

Of course, that means that Oktoberfest options are nearly boundless in the city. Add the surrounding city’s fetes, and the choices can be overwhelming. Wondering where to start? Peruse the below list of happenings before dusting off the steins on the shelf.

Bier Garten Oktoberfest
This popular River Walk destination’s Oktoberfest annual bash is already in full swing, but guests have until October 29 to enjoy all the merrymaking. Test your lung capacity during an alp horn-blowing contest, or join in on one of the raucous sing-alongs. The beer specials change weekly, giving plenty of reasons for return visits. No tickets are required.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas Oktoberfest Food Festival
For a family-friendly alternative to the boozier celebrations, haul the kids to this theme park’s annual celebration of all things German. On Fridays through Sundays until October 29, guests can sample various Deutsch delights, including chicken schnitzel on a stick, sauerbraten, and apple strudel. For the adults, kiosks are scattered throughout the grounds, serving craft beer and ghoulish cocktails. (It is spooky season, after all.) And Der Wurst Band has a residency on Saturdays and Sundays to give the festivities a little more oom-pah.

Fredericksburg Oktoberfest
Say danke schön to the planners of this citywide celebration, held October 6-8. They’ve booked five stages of entertainment from morning until midnight. In addition to all the polka, there are more than 60 food and beverage choices, a KinderPark for antsy kids, and yodeling tournaments. Advance ticket sales are closed, but admission is available at the gate.

With such a perfect pun, it’s hard to believe that Lockhart is only now hosting its first Oktoberfest downtown. Tons of local businesses are participating October 6-8 with activations and German-themed food specials. Highlights include a mini Bavarian festival at Best Little Wine & Books, polka sets performed by local bands, and even German-themed pizza.

Beethoven Mäennechor Oktoberfest
Unsurprisingly, the oldest German singing society in Texas hosts one of the area’s most popular Oktoberfest parties. From October 6-14, San Antonians can revel in tap beer tastings, delicious snacks, and musical performances. Those feeling competitive can also go for glory during the stein-hoisting competition. Best of all, tickets are only $8.

Hill Country Animal League Barktoberfest
Buy your dachshund a dirndl and head to Boerne’s Main Plaza on October 21. This fetching annual fundraiser combines waggish fun with German tradition. Warm fuzzy activities include a petting zoo, pet adoptions, and doggy dash races. Visitors will also be treated to food trucks and beer booths.

17th Annual San Antonio Beer Festival
This hoppy event is exactly as it sounds: a big celebration of all things beer. There will be more than 400 "premium and craft beers" from more than 100 brewers around the world on October 21 at Crockett Park, promising that no visitor will have to settle for anything but their ideal brew. Plus, look out for music, games, wines, ciders, food vendors, and more.

One of Central Texas’ grandest traditions, New Braunfels’ annual shindig has been slinging sausage since 1961. From November 3-12, pilgrims can stretch their lederhosen with festival favorites like Bretzel Wurst, Jager Dogs, and dozens of imported brews. With some liquid courage from a couple of pints, guests can also brave gravity defying carnival rides or take a spin on the dancefloor. Admission allows access to the entertainment; food and beverage is extra.

H-E-B soars to No. 2 in Forbes' prestigious list of best employers in Texas, plus more top stories

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Editor's note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From animal crossings to page turning, here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. H-E-B soars to No. 2 in Forbes' prestigious list of best employers in Texas. In addition to being based in San Antonio, H-E-B operates more than 300 stores in Texas and employs 154,000 people.

2. Wildlife advocacy tour treks to San Antonio's spectacular land bridge. The land bridge is getting national attention through a promotional road trip meant to highlight the structure's role in protecting local ecosystems.

3. Texas Book Festival releases full lineup of 300 authors, including Roxane Gay and Ali Hazelwood. The weekend will be full of panel discussions, author readings, book signings, and much more.

4. San Antonio foundation pounces on bold program to return ocelots to the wild. Following the proposal, the East Foundation will release ocelots onto a section of its San Antonio Viejo Ranch.

5. Famous furniture store Louis Shanks shutters last remaining San Antonio location. The furniture retailer first opened in 1945, with the San Antonio store opening in 1983.

San Antonio International Airport clears runway for 1st nonstop flight to Europe

booking tix now

Big news for Texas travelers: San Antonio International Airport's first-ever nonstop flights to Europe will begin in 2024.

Passengers can now book tickets via Condor Airlines for flights from San Antonio International Airport (SAT) to Germany's Frankfurt Airport (FRA) between May 17 and September 6, 2024. Flights will initially operate three days a week – Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays – and flights to Frankfurt are expected to take a little more than 10 hours, while flights coming in from overseas will last about 11.5 hours.

The seasonal service is a "spectacular win" for the city, according to Mayor Ron Nirenberg, and could bring in an estimated $34 million annually. The airport has been seeing wins left and right, having just been named one of the nation's least stressful airports, and consistently handling busier and busier days.

"Germany is where San Antonio has the most demand for travel in Europe because of the cultural, historic, tourism, military, and business ties," Mayor Nirenberg said in a news conference on September 21.

San Antonio Airport System Director of Airports Jesus Saenz foreshadows that the SAT-FRA flight is "just the beginning" of possible flight expansions for the airport in the future.

"We fully believe San Antonio will utilize this service to Europe and take advantage of Condor’s extremely competitive airfares," he said. "Once that happens, we anticipate Condor will expand their services even further."

The airline will be using a brand new Airbus A330-900neo aircraft for the nonstop flights, which features 30 business class seats, 64 premium economy seats, and 216 economy seats.

"With our growing fleet of A330neos, we can provide better travel options to more Americans every year," said Condor CEO Ralf Teckentrup said in a release. "I am particularly proud to offer the only nonstop connection from San Antonio, Texas to Frankfurt, Germany – the heart of Europe, where travelers can enjoy the popular touristic sights of Germany or travel beyond conveniently by air, road, or rail. I invite everyone to try out our newest and most luxurious in-flight experience ever."

Monday flights will depart from SAT at 10:05 pm and arrive in Frankfurt at 3:20 pm the following day. Returning flights from FRA on Mondays will depart at 3:40 pm and arrive at SAT at 8:05 pm.

For Wednesday and Friday flights, departures from SAT will take place at 8:25 pm and arrive at FRA at 1:40 pm the next day. Returning flights from FRA will depart at 2:00 pm and arrive at SAT at 6:25 pm.