This was a big season for professional basketball in North America, and on this edition of NBA Tuesday, we take on a post-MJ world where the league had to find new, bankable saviors to hang its financial hat on … every year. Thus, the pattern of crooked Finals matchups continued, albeit in different ways than we previously described in this space. But don’t worry, we’ll explain everything as we go …

Hang on for some hardcourt adventures and shenanigans, folks!

1999 NBA FINALS MVP: Tim Duncan, PF, San Antonio (original, confirmed)

The internationally comprised, multicultural San Antonio Spurs beat the New York Knicks in the Finals, 4-1, satisfying the league’s TV ratings’ need with viewers from all over the world (well, Europe and the Bahamas, at least)—and America’s biggest television market. The Knicks were the first No. 8 seed to make it to the Finals, which was interesting enough in itself, of course.

With the Spurs sweeping their conference finals, the Knicks were much more appealing TV-wise than the Indiana Pacers would have been, so New York prevailed in the Eastern Conference Finals over six games. However, the Knicks proved no match for the loaded Spurs, as bankable San Antonio power forward Tim Duncan and center David Robinson were in top form—with Duncan winning the Finals MVP vote.

The Knicks couldn’t even manage 80 ppg in this matchup, while the Big Fundamental posted a 27.4 ppg, 14.0 rpg, 2.4 apg, 2.2 bpg, and 1.0 spg in 45.6 mpg to lead the Spurs to their first NBA championship. He led his team in scoring, rebounding, minutes, and field-goal percentage (53.7) as New York had no answer for his talent and youthful energy. We confirm Duncan’s Finals MVP hardware.

1999 NBA DPOY: Alonzo Mourning, C, Miami (original); Theo Ratliff, PF, Philadelphia (revised)

The regular season was just 50 games “long” due to a labor lockout, so the DWS numbers are low. But Duncan (4.68) led the NBA in this category, despite the fact that Miami Heat C Alonzo Mourning (3.89) won the DPOY vote. Other contenders include Robinson (4.41), Atlanta Hawks C Dikembe Mutombo (4.19), Orlando Magic shooting guard Anfernee Hardaway (3.38), and Utah Jazz PF Karl Malone (3.38).

Duncan and Robinson cancel each other out, while maybe we can add Philadelphia 76ers PF Theo Ratliff (3.31) and Houston Rockets C Hakeem Olajuwon (3.29) to the contender list. All played for postseason participants, with the following win cushions: Utah (12), Miami (7), Orlando (7), Houston (6), Atlanta (5), and Philadelphia (2). That means Ratliff surprisingly wins this award, which is a bit of a shocker.

He did tie for fifth in the voting, though, so that’s good enough for us: Playing in all 50 games, he posted 8.1 rpg, 3.0 bpg, and 0.9 spg. He did this playing 32.5 mpg and scoring 11.2 ppg as well. The 76ers earned the No. 6 seed in the East, one win better than the Knicks, and they would have been home playing golf all spring instead of playing in the postseason—thanks to Ratliff and his defensive acumen.