The San Antonio Spurs had a peculiar way of preparing for the 1999 NBA finals against the New York Knicks. Between games, some of the players on the Spurs played Starcraft to relax and get their heads rested before the big games. The StarCraft battle included Tim Duncan and Malik Rose playing against the older members on the team David Robinson and Sean Elliot.
The Spurs had a friendly two-on-two competition, and according to Malik Rose, it was him and Duncan who won more battles during these matchups. StarCraft came out in 1998 and immediately gained immense fame across the world, and obviously, some of the Spurs players were not immune to its popularity.
There is a high probability it was Tim Duncan's idea to introduce StarCraft to his teammates. It's well known he is one of the NBA's biggest nerds who also played Dungeons & Dragons and is an avid gamer in his free time. When you see the Spurs play StarCraft, you could immediately tell the Knicks were in big trouble during those finals. The Spurs won the series 4-1, and it was the first out of five NBA championships Tim Duncan won with the Spurs in his long and illustrious career.