With the 2013-2014 NBA season underway, teams have another chance to fill history books’ currently unwritten pages.
Looking back, no team should be more proud of its already strong history than the San Antonio Spurs. I wasn’t always a Spurs fan, but they’ve grown on me in recent years. Below, I’ll highlight the reasons I’ll be cheering for San Antonio this season and maybe, just maybe, you should, too.
A Legacy of Success
The Spurs have been a very successful team — they’re one of the winningest teams over the past 15 or so years. That’s hard not to admire. And they’ve done it with a strong core of players: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili have remained together for 11 — yes, 11! — seasons. To put that into perspective, does anyone really think the Bosh-Wade-James trio will last another 7 seasons? That these star players have worked together for so long, without public infighting, is even harder not to admire. Coach Gregg Popovich says that the trio genuinely appreciate one another’s success — and that’s plain remarkable.
Tim Duncan has had one heck of a career. His on-court credential are impeccable: Rookie of the Year, two-time MVP, Finals MVP three times, and a 14-time All-Star. He’s the antithetical basketball star — soft-spoken, Duncan is also a philanthropist. But, at 37, the sun is setting on his career; we should enjoy it while it lasts.
Head coach Gregg Popovich has been with the Spurs since 1996. That’s simply unheard of in professional sports; the average NBA tenure is only about 3 years. But Popovich keeps plugging away, answering any criticism that comes his way with continued success. Like Duncan, coach Pop is actively involved with several charities, including the San Antonio Food Bank.
But the most important reason I’ve become a fan of the Spurs is sportsmanship. We fans often forget that professional basketball is grown men paid big bucks to put a ball through a hoop, nothing more. The money involved in sponsorship has turned a televised NBA game into a 2-hour commercial for soft drinks, beer, and fast food.
Unless we accept that professional sports is big business, it’s easy to miss what makes the Spurs special. The Spurs embody teamwork and dedication, commitment, generosity, and hard work. After you watch Duncan drop another double-double, be thankful that he’s also nice guy and is involved with charity. Be mindful of the fact that he and his coach keep showing up to work, to the same job, and have done so for the better part of two decades.
Point out to your kids that the Spurs act like a family — like a team should — on the court. If you take a minute to appreciate all this, maybe you’ll be cheering the Spurs this season, too, even if it’s quietly.