I understand the hesitation in pulling for the Spurs. They've been playing the same brand of basketball for God knows how long now. And they complain. A lot. They're basically a Tolstoy novel of NBA play. Why read 1,500 pages on trains when I can watch a train dunk a basketball through a hoop whooooooooo LOB CITYYYYYY!!!!
Yet, there's a nuance and a beauty to subtlety. And Gregg Popovich has engineered this subtlety as carefully as a Bond villain trying to steal the Hope Diamond to build a satellite that can control world leaders' minds. Pop doesn't think in one game or two week stretches, he uses his Planeteers to organize a decade-long takeover of the league despite having a tool box filled with sporks.
Pop actively takes on David Stern while the rest of the league cowers in fear, like Professor X and Magneto playing chess. He dolls out a 'DND - OLD' with no shame. He's a mastermind and a next-level comedy genius. Heck, SB Nation has a whole section devoted to him.
Why should you like the Spurs? Well, because they're America. A melting pot of nationalities, ideals and snark wrapped in complexes and personalities that read like an amateur screenwriter's first spec script of what he or she thought a basketball team roster would look like.
Let's run through the crew, huh?
And he's just a terrific basketball player with a lot of quickness, great body control and the ability to square up from anywhere on the floor no matter how much contact he absorbs.
Tim Duncan – Aside from that whole Hall of Fame career thing, he's one of the goofiest players in a league filled with goofy dudes. In that ESPN article, Henry Abbott referenced the time Duncan psychoanalyzed himself:
At this point, if I were to psychoanalyze myself, I'd have to say I am a clown, cleverly disguised as a regular person. I enjoy jokes, smiling, and making people smile. I may be a little different, but that's OK, who wants to be normal anyway?
Who doesn't enjoy jokes, smiling and making people smile? He also loves magic, like more than most 30-somethings. He opened a custom car shop called Black Jack Speed Shop in San Antonio where you will find pictures like this on their Facebook:
I know people aren't a big fan of him throwing his hands up in the air in disbelief or rolling his eyes when a call goes against him, but he has tattoos of Merlin and a Jester, and he was going to try and become an Olympic swimmer before he even played basketball. Plus, he went to Wake Forest, so give him a break. That place makes you weird. I should know.
Kawhi Leonard – The little brother who knows his place with the elder statesmen of the team, he's downright cold-blooded when he has to be.
Using psychology as always, Pop bounces back and forth between calling Kawhi the future face of the team and saying he's not ready at all to be a leader yet.
Manu Ginobili – It's not often you can get Balki from Perfect Strangers to play on your team.
Tiago Splitter – Every playoff team needs an enforcer, and this Rocky villain shoots 56 percent from the field.
"It's crazy thinking back on those days back at the YMCA in Concord," Luke Bonner said. "When Matt was in high school, he used to barter with the other kids in the gym to get someone to rebound shots for him. Matt would pay four quarters - enough for a Fruitopia or something from the vending machine - in exchange for rebounding 100 shots or 200 shots depending on the negotiating skills of the targeted rebounder."
Some still will call the Spurs boring and 'unwatchable.' Yeah, only if you also thought Major League was boring.