Root for the San Antonio Spurs If you Love America

You know how I know I'm old?  I want the Spurs to win the NBA championship. I want it for America, because it's good for us.

Tim Duncan: inspiring humble, dejected, slightly depressed kids, everywhere. 
You see, the Spurs are the good guys. The guys who got there the hard way, by playing the game the right way. Nobody likes that story, especially now that the Spurs are old. Many "experts" picked them to disintegrate years ago, but here they are...still just as potent as ever, even as some have their AARP memberships waiting in the mail. ESPN basically ignores the existence of the Spurs because their future HOF player Tim Duncan is as flashy as Carhartt jeans. Manu Ginobili, the other aging veteran, is from Argentina but looks as foreign and exciting as some guy serving falafels from a food-cart.  Tony Parker, their only youngish star married the only youngish star, Eva Longoria, of Desperate Housewives.  They've now divorced, and that show is canceled. So it goes. The fact that Parker is French doesn't even excite women anymore.

The Spurs are old news. They don't get good ratings now (they never have). They play a near perfect version of basketball, a version that high schools and colleges adore, yet, they settle for layups instead of backboard breaking dunks, and America doesn't like that. They're boring. So we've been told.

ESPN dictates what we like. Michael Jordan overshot on an underperforming Chicago Bulls team in the 1980s until ESPN decided he was a human highlight reel (replacing Dominique Wilkins who had that nickname), and then da' Bulls became America's team. I'm not knocking Jordan. He got better each successive year. By the 1990s, he had a quality team, and they played good basketball. But ESPN, Nike, and David Stern made him the face of the NBA. Many questionable calls, and favoritism towards his Bulls turned off a large segment of NBA fans during their six ring circus.

Remember he also rapped: "Do you want me to shot it?
No.  Do you want me to pass it? No. Do you want me to
slam it? Yeah."  Chuck D got nothing on Shaq Diesel. 
After Jordan's run in the mid nineties, the NBA was desperate for a future superstar and super team. The Lakers had a guy named Kobe and a guy named Shaq. It was like having the Showtime Lakers again, with both Magic and Kareem, only this time, Kareem was entertaining. Shaq supplied a one dimensional game (and low decibel one-liners), and Kobe skulked across the court with sneers and tantrums and accusations of misconduct off the court, and yet ESPN and the mass marketing system told us, "This is your team, America." Plenty of young posers and bandwagon fans started wearing Kobe jerseys, and NBA marketing people shook hands and said, "We did it," while another segment of fans said, "Adios basketball, hello soccer (or NASCAR, or golf, etc.)."

Meanwhile, the only true nemesis to those Lakers was these pesky, methodical Spurs. Duncan, Ginobili, David Robinson, Parker and a number of other character over the years donned the silver and black and helped the Spurs win four titles (to the Lakers five). If they win this year, the Spurs will bookend all the Laker titles. Equal dynasties. But by the amount of press they get, you'd think they were the Milwaukee Bucks.

Overheard in a Spurs video breakdown:
"What exactly is he doing?  Can we
do this?" 
Now they battle the Miami Heat. The Heat represent everything America was during both the bust and the housing crisis. They are huge egos, unlimited talent, vats of cash, collusion, excessiveness and individualism on a grand scale. How could they not win? Too big, too great to fail!

We've seen this before. Of course, the NBA wants the Heat to win. It guarantees a young fan base will wear LeBron James jerseys or say, "I saw Dwayne Wade play before his knees gave out."  Young fans don't appreciate a nice pick and roll--a la Duncan/Ginobili; or appreciate the drive and dish of Parker; young fans don't like the Spurs.  They, we, NEED highlights.  We need flash. We need pomp and circumstance. Not grind it out tedium, bank shots, aggressive defense, and masterful coaching.

We as a nation might respect companies that build themselves up slowly, but we invest heavily in flashier, riskier enterprises. There's nothing sexy about a slow yielding Treasury Bond. But an insecure, high reward Junk bond that can get us rich quickly albeit with questionable ethics? America loves those. That's why we're told to love the Heat. They're talented, sexy, and volatile: just what the NBA ordered.

But I'm not buying it NBA. If this finals series looks at all fishy, I'm ready to go cold turkey. You've diluted the product down to ally-oops, isolation moves, showmanship, and bad fouls...but some of us want our game back. Some of us are ready to root for the Spurs. Because they're the responsible, mature, and right team to root for.

{Bring the hate Heat fans}.


  1. Okay, I don't like basketball (viva el fĂștbol), but this was hilarious, and I agree on principle. I'm not one for corporately manufactured teams, and I dislike "superstar" athletes (once they agree to a movie/music deal/serve time for doping, it's all over). It's why Major League baseball is losing me, too.
    And I agree - there may not be anything sexy about a slow-yielding Treasury Bond, but by golly, it's good-ol'fashioned American!
    Go Spurs!

  2. I think you absolutely nailed it here Chris. I've stopped watching NBA basketball, there's much to be said about a "team" and those that do all the little things right. How we were all taught to play any sport as kids.

  3. I don't know much about basketball. This 1st grader I've been periodically subbing for knows EVERYTHING, and that kid truly loves the game. He has his favorites, but they aren't commercial, and his opinions are well thought out. Love that kid! He's one in a million for sure.