SAN ANTONIO (January 23, 2012) -- The San Antonio Spurs are retiring Bruce Bowen's No. 12 jersey as tribute to the respected and sometimes reviled defensive stopper who helped the franchise win three championships.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on Monday called Bowen the "premier perimeter defender" in the NBA for nearly a decade. Bowen pestered the league's best players for 12 seasons before retiring in 2009.
His tenacity gave him a reputation as one of the NBA's dirtiest defenders. Critics vilified him as a master of cheap shots but there was no denying Bowen's ability to shutdown opposing scorers. Bowen was named to the NBA's all-defensive team eight times.
His Spurs jersey will be hoisted into the AT&T Center rafters alongside those of David Robinson, George Gervin, James Silas, Johnny Moore, Sean Elliot and Avery Johnson.