Spurs fans are never satisfied.
At some point during the 29 point romping of the Trailblazers in Game 1 that prompted TNT’s Kevin Harlan to say, “the score doesn’t even look real,” I read this on Twitter:
To you Mr. HPbasketball, they were already dead. To a fan base that still reaches for Patron at the mere mention of 0.4, Manu’s foul, or Game 6, this is the more appropriate response:
That’s a true Spurs fan.
On top of our disappointments, Spurs fans have a hope that is constantly under attack. I mean, man, if I had a dime for every time I heard the Spurs were done: After the Tony-Eva divorce, the whole Richard Jefferson era, the 2011 first round loss to Memphis, etc., etc.
And even when praise is heaped, it’s always in an “end of an era” way, like Bill Simmons wrote in 2010 after the Suns swept the Spurs in the second round:
To the Duncan-era Spurs: Four titles, 13 straight 50-win seasons (I’m including the stupid lockout season) and a boatload of fantastic memories…. Look, you can’t stay on top for more than a decade without getting a top-three lottery pick or having Chris Wallace trade you a top-three lottery pick. That’s just the way this league works. So hold your head up high, Spurs. Fantastic run. When players are bawling in their locker room because they finally beat you (like Nash did after Game 4), you know you accomplished something great. And you did.
Can you believe this goon got famous for a book on basketball, is now an ABC sports analyst, and claims to run a successful sports/pop culture blog?* What a tool!
(*I would actually recommend reading everything Simmons writes because it’s super interesting and probably some of the best sports writing of our day, or in the history of sports writing.)
Because of this, Spurs fans are the most media-wary of them all. After the Spurs swept Memphis to get to The Finals last year, my brother sent me this:
Yet the reason we’re so obstinate, is because somewhere deep down inside, we know they’re right. We’ve defied the odds a little too long. We’re trying to win in a whole new way – with team ball to overcome lack of superstar talent. We’re like our ancestors in the Alamo who saw that 5,000 man Mexican army and had to know they reached the end of the line. But when told to surrender, we fire cannon shots like they did.
But Spurs fans, let’s pause the revolution, ungrasp the bayonets for a sec and recognize what we have.
Spurs fans, do you realize that Tim Duncan might be on the Mount Rushmore of big men?
Sure, people say that he’s the greatest power forward of all time, but that’s just a cop-out to not have to face the harder fact: Tim Duncan is a top three big man ever to play. Russell’s eight straight championships (some as a player-coach), and Kareem’s fantastic resume (six championships, 6 MVPs, 2 Finals MVPs) are beyond compare, but after that who tops Timmy? Wilt’s numbers are astronomical, but his dedication to himself, compared to Duncan’s dedication to winning, puts him number at four in my book.
Cases have already been made that Duncan is the most consistent to ever play the game. He’s also done more with less beside him than any other big man. Shaq was more dominant for a shorter stint, but also had a Kobe and Wade by his side and ended his career as a foreclosing Rent-A-Center. Hakeem and Moses racked up the stats, but didn’t win enough.
Duncan on the other hand, loaded an aging David Robinson with a slipped disc on his back (pun intended) for his first two championships, then averaged 25 and 10 in the 2005 title run and soon thereafter sacrificed his stats to pass the scoring reins to Tony Parker en route to the 2007 title (Note: Don’t get it twisted. Duncan’s scoring went down to 20 PPG, but he upped his rebounds from 11 to 14.5 RPG to pick up the slack somewhere else. Unbelievable professional).
Lest you forget he was voluntarily sacrificing personal accolades for the team, Duncan opened up the 2008 playoffs with a 40 point, 15 rebound game, and hit the most iconic shot of his career. Look, he does have feelings.
Now if the Spurs would have handled their business in the last 28.2 seconds of Game 6 of the Finals last year, Tim Duncan would have been named Finals MVP according to the consensus gathered by Bill Simmons. That would have made him the first player ever to win a Finals MVP in three separate decades. Which is the saddest thing in the world because with how consistent Timmy has been, that is the one distinction he deserved. Instead we got this:
Despite the sadness, Duncan has had a lot of success. It’s hard to compare him statistically to other big men because he has sacrificed those purposefully in minutes played and points scored. But in the one statistic he cares about, he’s beyond compare. He wins. He has never won less than 50 games in a season (besides the 1999 lockout, where he went 37-13, anyway). And he has more playoff wins than half the franchises in the NBA.
Long story short, Duncan is on Mount Rushmore. Sorry to be so long, but I had a lot to say about him because he’s dominated since Space Jam was in theaters.
Spurs fans, do you realize Tony Parker could end up being a Top 10 point guard of all time?
I promise this won’t be as long (but it could be). The Top 10 point guards (in no particular order) in my book are as follows:
- Gary Payton (22,000 points and 9,000 assists, plus defense so good he was named “The Glove”)
- Jason Kidd (only player in history to total 15,000 points, 7,000 rebounds and 10,000 assists.)
- Steve Nash (Only point guard besides Magic with multiple MVPs)
- Bob Cousy (6-time Champion, 1 MVP)
- Walt Frazier (2 Championships, averaged 18-6-5)
- Isiah Thomas (2 Championships, 1 Finals MVP)
- John Stockton (All-time leader in steals and assists)
- Oscar Robertson (Averaged a triple-double for an entire season)
- Magic Johnson (3 MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs, 5 Championships)
Forget that Parker is not even considered the top point guard playing currently, I believe Parker will finish his career with the 10th seat at this table.
His numbers match up favorably with those already on this list. He is tied with Magic for second place in championships (3), has a Finals MVP (most likely will take a second one if Spurs win this year), and already has more playoff points than anyone else on this list (3483).
Parker will never reach the assist numbers of players like Stockton, Kidd, and Magic. However, with the eradication of the 1990s “illegal defense” style that allowed bigs to take their players one-on-one in the post, the association has become a guard’s league. If Parker plays six more years and scores 200 points less per season than what he has been averaging the last five years (very conservative, but I’m deflating numbers for when he ages), he is on pace to become the highest scoring guard on this list, second only to Oscar Robertson.
And while some may say scoring isn’t everything for a point guard, facts are he still wins.
Granted Parker has numbers advantages others don’t because he started playing in the league at 19 years old. But he does have the numbers. And the hardware – as he shows Fabricio Oberto in this hilarious Argentinian version of MTV Cribs.
Spurs fans, do you realize Manu Ginobili should be the mold of the Sixth Man of the Year award?
The biggest crime of all crimes is that Manu Ginobili will never be the mold of the Sixth Man of the Year award because he’s only won it once. ONCE! He is the perennial Sixth Man of the Year and everyone knows it.
I mean J.A. Adande once called him the most competitive player since Michael Jordan.
There needs to be no discussion about his resume, so I’ll leave that be. All I will say is the biggest reason Manu doesn’t win the award is because he’s always injured. As Zach Lowe pointed out this year:
(By the way, it would have been amazing if a 36 year-old Ginobili won the Sixth Man of the Year award a year after national sports media was calling for his retirement. I digress…)
But he’s the best off the bench there has been. And although Gregg Popovich feels guilty for moving him to that role, he has come to dominate it. And won South Texans’ hearts as he’s done it. I mean just google a mixtape. Or, here, watch this one.
So basically Manu should be the mold of the award. But it would probably break. Spurs fans, go ahead and man the cannons and continue the revolution. But as you do, remember what you have. If the Spurs are lucky enough to pick up four more wins this postseason, this group will surpass Magic, Kareem, and Cooper for the winningest trio in playoffs history. That’s absolutely legendary, there’s no other word to describe it.
So like our ancestors that wanted to make sure they were remembered down the road, feel free to let out that “Remember the Alamo” City battle cry. But don’t worry that history won’t remember our Spurs. Because it’s going to have to.
Josh Bolding wrote this article. He’s a born and raised San Antonian with an unfailing devotion to family, 90s Pop Music, and of course, The Spurs.