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's AT&T Center scores big on ranking of best game day experience


True basketball fans will see their favorite team play in an abandoned shipyard. For the rest of us, the experience matters. Turns out, the San Antonio Spurs offer both sets of followers one heck of a good time.

Online gambling site Betway recently ranked the best North American cities for game day, and San Antonio came in fourth. Tying the study to the June NBA and NHL championships, the company narrowly defined the study to cities with pro hockey or basketball teams. Sorry, stans of Minute Maid Park.

To calculate the listings, Betway looked at several factors, including championships won, average ticket price, and total franchise value. It also computed minutiae like the price of a hotdog and the average cost of a 12-ounce beer. It is a betting site, after all.

With five titles, the Spurs already had a leg-up on the competition but also earned high marks for its affordability. According to Betway’s research, the AT&T Center had one of the lowest ticket prices, and the hotdog and beer prices were downright bargains compared to other cities’ concessions.

Dallas edges out San Antonio as No. 3 on the list, but we cry shenanigans. The determining factor was the average search volume. Though NHL and NBA cities were ranked in two separate lists, somehow, the Mavericks bested our hometown heroes with a whopping 22,790,000 searches. We cry foul, but we also acknowledge that locals live and breathe the Spurs. They may not be Googling “Tre Jones.”

The remainder of the NBA list includes Atlanta in the top spot, followed by Boston at No. 2. Los Angeles rounded out the top 5. The far less important NHL list included Toronto, Calgary, Tampa, Edmonton, and Denver.

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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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Whataburger weighs in as healthiest cheeseburger in the nation


With its love of greasy enchiladas, gluttonous fried steaks, and fat-speckled brisket, San Antonio isn’t exactly known as a healthy eating mecca. But it turns out that one locally beloved dish isn’t as unhealthy as one might think.

Inspired by February’s American Heart Month (albeit belatedly), Gambling.com decided to dig deep into which fast-food burger was best for the ticker and the body overall. What that has to do with online slots is anyone’s guess, but perhaps open-heart surgeries are not conducive to risk-taking.

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Local favorite/ food cult Whataburger took the top slot, earning honors with its standby cheeseburger. Assumably, the gambling site considered the mustard-slathered original, eschewing calorie bombs like bacon slices and creamy pepper sauce. Where’s the fun of Whataburger if you can’t get it just like you like it?

To arrive at the rankings, Gambling.com analyzed each burger for sugar, fat, salt, and calorie content per ounce. Each metric was given a one to ten score that factored into the final report card shared with content-hungry food journalists everywhere.

Coming in a close second was In-N-Out’s cheeseburger, a comforting fact for Texans who enjoy complaining about Californians. Rounding out the top five were Checker’s Checkerburger with Cheese, Culver’s ButterBurger Cheese, and Del Taco’s del Cheese Burger.

For those trying to make better eating choices, that list should give some pause. Yes, Whataburger beats out other fast-food faves, but it was competing against a chain that literally toasts all their buns in churned cream. Health is a relative concept.

Elsewhere on the list was another Texas darling, the No. 6 ranked Dairy Queen. Apparently, all that “hungr” is being busted by a hefty dose of sodium. Yes, we will take fries with that.

Disney's Little Mermaid remake goes swimmingly despite new so-so songs

Movie review

The biggest problem with the majority of the live-action updates to classic Disney animated films is that they haven’t been updates at all, choosing to merely regurgitate the moments audiences know and love from the original in a slightly repackaged form. That’s great for nostalgia, but if that’s all viewers wanted, they’d just go back and watch the original.

The Little Mermaid falls into much the same trap, although the filmmakers get at least a little credit for trying to offer something new. The story, of course, remains the same, as Ariel (Halle Bailey) has a fascination with everything above the surface of the ocean. Her rebellious nature, at odds with strict King Triton (Javier Bardem), leads her to spy on a ship with Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) and his crew, putting her in position to save Eric when the ship crashes into rocks.

Now totally enamored of Eric, Ariel is convinced by the sea witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) to give up her voice for a chance to live on land and make Eric fall in love with her. Trouble is, despite the help of Sebastian the crab (Daveed Diggs), Flounder the fish (Jacob Tremblay), and Scuttle the seabird (Awkwafina), Ursula has no plans to let Ariel succeed fair and square.

Directed by Rob Marshall and written by David Magee, the film clocks in at nearly one hour longer than the original, going from 83 minutes to 135. They accomplish this feat with the addition of several songs, including ones “sung” by Ariel while she is without voice, a relatively clever way to get into her thoughts during that long stretch. There are also additional scenes that give Prince Eric more of a backstory, making him more than just a pretty face on which to hang all of Ariel’s hopes and dreams.

The new songs are hit-and-miss; Ariel’s “For the First Time” is a fanciful number that fits in nicely, but “Wild Uncharted Waters,” a solo song for Prince Eric, feels unnecessary, and the less said about “The Scuttlebutt,” a rap performed by Scuttle and written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the better. What most people want to see are how the original songs are done, and they come off well for the most part. The actors’ voices are uniformly good and the staging is engaging.

Other changes seem half-hearted, at best. A vague environmental theme broached at the beginning is quickly dropped. The cast is very multicultural, but haphazardly so. The film is obviously set on and around a Caribbean island, making it natural for The Queen (Noma Dumezweni), Eric’s adopted mother, and other islanders to be Black. But giving Ariel “sisters from the seven seas,” allowing for mermaids of several different races and ethnicities, feels odd and forced, and a little creepy given that King Triton is supposed to be the father of all of them.

The fact that Bailey herself is Black, while great for representation, is neither here nor there in the context of the film. Bailey has a voice that is equal to everything she is asked to sing, and her silent acting is excellent in the middle portion of the film. McCarthy makes for a great Ursula, bringing both humor and pathos to the role. Hauer-King, who bears a similarity to Ryan Gosling, plays Eric in a more well-rounded manner.

The live-action version of The Little Mermaid, like almost all of the Disney remakes, never truly establishes itself as its own unique thing. Still, it’s a thoroughly pleasant watch with some nice performances, which clears the bar for success for this era of Disney history.


The Little Mermaid opens in theaters on May 26.

Halle Bailey in The Little Mermaid

Photo courtesy of Disney

Halle Bailey in The Little Mermaid.

These 6 San Antonio museums are offering free admission for military families all summer long

spread the museum love

Half a dozen San Antonio museums are honoring active-duty military personnel and their families with free admission through the Blue Star Museums initiative, May 20 through September 4, 2023.

Established by the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the U.S. Department of Defense, the Blue Star Museums program annually provides military families free access to 2,000 museums nationwide throughout the summer. The program begins yearly on Armed Forces Day in May and ends on Labor Day.

Free admission is extended to personnel currently serving in the U.S Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard (including those in the Reserve), and all National Guardsman. Members of the U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps and NOAA Commissioned Corps are also included in the program.

Those who qualify can use their military ID to bring up to five family members - including relatives of those currently deployed. More information about qualifications can be found here.

There is no limit on the number of participating museums that qualifying families may visit. Admission for non-active military veterans, however, is not included.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts website, the initiative was created to help "improve the quality of life for active duty military families" with a specific focus on children. The site states two million have had a parent deployed since 2001.

"Blue Star Museums was created to show support for military families who have faced multiple deployments and the challenges of reintegration," the website says. "This program offers these families a chance to visit museums this summer when many will have limited resources and limited time to be together."

Here's a look at all the museums in San Antonio that are participating in the Blue Star Museums initiative this year.

For those looking to take a drive around Central Texas, the Sophienburg Museum & Archives in New Braunfels and Bandera's Frontier Times Museum are also participants in the Blue Star Museums initiative.

More information about Blue Star Museums and a full list of participants can be found on arts.gov.