By Zoya Zia
‘Tis the season to be jolly. The NBA is back, and we have another exciting, competitive year in store. After winning the championship last year, the Golden State Warriors are the center of attention. Experts constantly discuss possible Most Valuable Player candidates, pointing out the return of star players Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. Even the losers — the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James — are on everyone’s radar.
Among the bandwagons and popularity contests is a humble, talented team that basks in a silent glory. For nearly two decades, the San Antonio Spurs have been consistently successful. Under the austere guidance of Gregg Popovich, aka Coach Pop, the Spurs shoot baskets for championships as successfully as they shoot arrows through fans’ hearts. Here’s why the experts — and all of y’all — should admire the team from the Alamo City.
“Here, Everything’s Better.” As a grocery store, HEB is a source of Texan pride. The supermarket giant is also a sponsor of the San Antonio Spurs. Year after year, Spurs players provide comic relief through their charming advertisements. Unlike James modeling his shoes or Bryant running for Nike, the Spurs show off prime BBQ and Creamy Creations Ice Cream. They stand up for the HEB we hold so dear. Enjoy.
Face it — some basketball players are too cocky. They let the fame and the sponsorship money get to their heads. The Spurs never do that, even though they have had a fair share of influential athletes. Take Tim Duncan. Just last week, he won his 954th regular season game, the most won by any player for one team in history. In recent years, Duncan has taken pay cuts just so the Spurs can afford to keep other players. The Spurs put their team first, going for assists rather than slam-dunks. They work together on court, a model of efficiency. As the basketball moves from one set of hands to another and another, the movement demonstrates selflessness and humility.
Social Media Presence
The Spurs are social media geniuses. Duncan, at 39 years old, is always pointed out as a veteran player on the verge of retirement. Even though he stays away from the Twitterverse, his teammates have the hang of it. Tony Parker recently joined Troy Bolton, aka Zac Efron, for a stellar pic. Manu Ginobili even wished Duncan a happy birthday with a hilarious picture.
Ginobili and Patty Mills frequently talk on social media, showcasing their playful humor. My personal favorite is the fake Coach Pop twitter account, @ItsGPop. Bad grammar mixed with relatable musings provides a sharp contrast to Pop's usual quiet, professional self.
Win or lose, you can count on social media to unite the Spurs fam.
Okay, so the Spurs have some pretty great characteristics. They are modest and funny, Texan and friendly. But beyond that, they are immensely successful. The Spurs are 5-time NBA Champions, winning championships in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2015. For the past 18 years, the Spurs have made the playoffs. They have won six conference titles and 20 division titles. Their regular season records are always on point. Perhaps the most emotional time of my life was when the Spurs lost the championship in a close battle with the Miami Heat in 2013. The loss was painful, but they did not give up. Just the next year, they easily defeated the Miami Heat to win their fifth title. In the words of @ItsGPop, here is a “thro bak thursdey” to the moment they won it all.
With the Spurs, you feel like you win even when you lose. Spurs are known for having many international players, so even when the NBA season is over, fans can watch them play abroad. Duncan is like the grandpa, holding everyone together with a laidback, cool wisdom. Parker and Ginobili are his sidekicks, forming a Big Three as formidable as the Powerpuff Girls.
Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green are talented twins. Boris Diaw and Mills are the foreign uncles, bestowing us with victory. And this year, we added Lamarcus Aldridge. He’s already a Spur. Each player matters just as much as the next. The Spurs are equal contributors to a family. And as a fan, I’m part of the family too.
It is easy to fall into the ESPN trap that overlooks the Spurs. The Spurs are considered underdogs even though they continuously act as brilliant golden retrievers who fetch the win time and time again. They are a team to watch, a team to love. The Spurs are just under 90 miles south of the ATX — they are close to our city and should be close to our hearts, too.