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The Spurs are the NBA's dad team: A roster breakdown

The Spurs may or may not win the NBA title this year, but they are all your dads, and that is forever.

Tom Pennington

The Spurs, who still stand a very good chance of winning an NBA Final despite Tuesday night's debacle in Miami, are the NBA's true All-Dad Team. Maybe not your dad, but certainly a collection of dads, and all the things dads are: sleepy, mostly employed, and slogging along unspectacularly to the end of their work day before taking home the bread to the family back home.

A day at the old Unspectacular and Unflashy and Terribly Successful NBA Championship Conglomerate isn't all sparks and daffodils, though. Move over, kid, and let Spurs Dad have his chair. Get him a Michelob Ultra while you're up. (Or, like, three, which equal one real beer if you close your eyes and dream.)

So in thinking out loud about the Spurs -- and how Dad-ness, or at least certain varieties of Dad-ness, explain their brown paper bag mystique -- it seems necessary to clarify the varieties of Dad on the Spurs. We started this on Twitter, but summing up their precise dadnesses required just a bit more than 140 characters at a time.


Manu is in the pool, by the grill. Or he is by the grill, which is next to the pool. You know he has a job -- he has one, right? -- but no one has ever seen him in anything except a loose-fitting T-shirt and a pair of basketball shorts. You know he's wearing them already, but I should tell you that those are shower sandals he's wearing, and that he has five pairs of them. Possesses no fewer than four novelty aprons, and is constantly marinating something in the fridge. Bald spot is less a sign of advancing age, and more an accessory picked up to accentuate his Grillin' Dad aesthetic.

After grilling, may be found in pool. After pool, may be found asleep in chair. After sleep, returns to grill. Sunscreen: applied in heavy layers, and with an accent of electric blue zinc oxide across the nose. Has worn out oh so many PedEggs with his crusty-ass feet, but being Grillin' Dad has its costs. Sells something for a living? (Grills? Or PedEggs?) Does not own a heavy coat, and never will.


Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Dad with a heavy bag in his garage. Dad only seen at social occasions ducking out of his office to make a sandwich in the kitchen. Dad who is either scary because you see him drinking and looking totally sober no matter how many beers he knocks back, or because he doesn't drink at all, ever. Dad who sometimes shoots a compound bow in the backyard at targets at 10:47 p.m. Dad who smiled once, and man that was weird. Dad who once caught you all smoking weed out back, and who joined in before saying, "Don't ever tell anyone about this, or I will kill all of you. Slowly."

Dad who might have a mistress, but everyone including Mom is too terrified to ask. Dad who drives a really bland car that just reaffirms what real quiet fear looks like. Dad who would take you hunting, but you're too afraid to go because he probably makes you drink the blood of your first buck. Dad who has one oddly dainty hobby like raising orchids, but even that's kind of scary because if you knocked one over the look alone from his cold icy glare would kill you on sight.

Dad who dies and has like $15 million in a low-interest savings account, but is cremated at sea to save money. Successful dad. SCARY AS HELL DAD.


Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Oh man does he run a table at neighborhood parties. He's French! And how! Your mom is in love with him, and so is his/hers, and everyone's mom is in love with him because despite the dad class he rolls with, Sexy Cheatin' Dad somehow manages to carry the patina of youth effortlessly into middle age. Even his wrinkles look good! Has been in America long enough to know speedos are a no-go, but the swimsuit is rather short, and is worn because he knows your mom is looking, and likes what she sees.

Are you uncomfortable with this? Why, she is but a woman, and has needs like every other woman, needs that may only be met by a man who is not her husband, and thus a walking vacation for the eyes, soul, and body in an exquisitely tailored $3,000 suit. Do not ask what his wife thinks about this, because the answers to love's questions are hard to find, and they are definitely not picking up that telephone if you call him at home like you were not supposed to. Children love him, or at least until they find him awkwardly walking through their living room at two in the morning when Daddy is out of town. He has left a phone charger at your house -- but only because he is so very forgetful, you see.

(P.S. If your dad has been at the club after the age of 35, but will not talk about it, this is your dad, and why mommy cried a lot before calling a lawyer, divorcing Sexy Cheatin' Dad, and marrying New Dad.)


Young Dad isn't rude. He really isn't. Young Dad is just trying really hard, and doesn't have time to be that social because he has work to do, and at 21 is just a little bit freaked out by all of it. Not that you'd notice the little things: that he uses the gas station-themed coffee cup to save on refills, or that he's thinking about getting a credit card just to improve his credit score for a home loan application, even though guhhhh, all cash really is the way to go for your financial health. Young Dad doesn't have the nicest yard, because he hasn't bought some of the stuff you need for that yet. (He will "borrow" some of it from Grillin' Dad, who will be too nice to ask for it back even after several years of unpaid rental.)

Young Dad will wear the baby harness at Target, probably with his hair slightly jacked up from just waking up from a desperately needed nap, and most likely with some part of his clothing covered with childcare stains. His clothing, when he is not at work working really, really hard, is made up entirely of childcare stains. Once a month he goes out and gets absolutely shitfaced with his co-workers, and then gets up with the baby guiltily at 6:30 the next morning. Young Dad is trying as hard as he possibly can to make it all work, but Young Dad wants you to know it's not as easy as it looks, and that someday he'll cry along with a song he heard at 4 in the morning in a grocery store while buying formula and fresh bottle liners for reasons only he will understand.


"Oh, that's not fair, or new. Everyone needs to retire that joke, like, now."

"Oh yeah? Watch this."

"Hey, which one here is Fat Dad?"

[everyone points to Boris Diaw]

[Boris Diaw cries]

[Boris Diaw joins Crossfit or something]

[runs a marathon]

[stops eating the carbs]

[loses 10 pounds]

["lookin' good, Boris!"]

[feels like he deserves dessert after all that hard work]

[gains 10 pounds plus two back]

[scene: party where discussion of "Dad types" is happening]

"Hey, which one here is Fat Dad?"

"That's totally Boris Diaw."



If the television is on, and it is Sunday, that television is showing golf. Sleepy Dad is on the couch, where Sleepy Dad always is, and will remain until it is time to go to work. (Where Sleepy Dad nods off in meetings and at lunch, sometimes in his car parked under a shady tree.) No one has ever heard Sleepy Dad say anything unless the television is changed while Sleepy Dad is "watching" it from the couch, where he is totally sleeping. No one understands the science behind Sleepy Dad's ability to hear a channel change from the couch while audibly snoring, but Sleepy Dad has some weird powers, like "holding down a job and being pretty good at it despite sleeping 14 hours a day," and "somehow being kind of fit despite only walking 100 feet to his car every morning."

No one knows if Sleepy Dad drinks, because you can't tell if someone is drunk or sober when they're unconscious on the couch. Has not eaten a meal at the table in over 17 years.


He's trying. He knows it's awkward. You know it's awkward. But he's trying, and sometimes a little too hard for his own good. Because he might try to explain why he's the one who moved in after Dad left -- that your mother is very attractive, and that age really shouldn't mean that much when two people love each other, and she's only 10 years older, and really in time you'll see that's not a lot -- but that really isn't necessary. New Dad is never going to be Dad, but instead will be the weird roommate who sleeps with your Mother, and will take years to figure out exactly what you're going to call him.

(Sexy Cheatin' Dad denies everything. Stop looking at him weird.)

Upside: Your New Dad will play video games with you, and let you eat whatever you want out of the fridge. This will be cool until your mother suggests they go to bed, and oh god the therapy you'll need that not even the blessed green eye of the XBox can provide, son. But seriously, let him stay up for another round of C.O.D., Mom. The least you can do is let them take care of those f***ing campers we've been trying to kill for an hour now.


Photo: USA TODAY Sports

He got the Forester. Yeah, the mileage isn't quite what an Outback would get, and it's not hybrid or electric. But Tesla's not building charge stations out in San Antonio anytime soon, and he needs some reliability. Plus, it's called the Forester. With a name like that, it's practically got a beard, a compost heap, and a regular yoga habit already. The compost heap was set too close to the house, and that's how you get what turns out to be a fierce rat infestation, but nature's not always gentle with its teachings, children. Whole Foods Dad is really aware of that, particularly after he tried some probiotics last week that disagreed with his system something fierce.

Had to sleep outside for a night or two, sure, but it put him back in touch with nature via sleeping in that $700 tent he bought two years ago for all those campouts we haven't taken. We really should go camping sometime, kids. In the Forester. Which pulls up to a hotel, because it's hard to beat a pool for swim time in the afternoons. Pools never have snakes in them. Whole Foods Dad found this out the hard way last summer on a road trip in Florida, and Whole Foods Mom will never, ever lets him forget about that.


A dad in theory only, but it's coming. Spends much of his time playing video games and going "uh-huh, sure" to questions about nursery decoration.


Ninety percent of the time, Surprisingly Useful Dad is astonishingly normal. If a hurricane hits your town, though, who's the man with 10 gassed-up chainsaws in his toolshed ready to go? Danny Green has 10, and would be happy to help you clear those downed trees in your yard.

In fact, Danny Green possesses every single one of those surprisingly useful skills you wish you had, but don't want badly enough to work at them and crowd out things like "earning money" and "staying somewhat clean." These include, but are not limited to:

  • wolf-whistling through your fingers
  • opening a wine bottle without a corkscrew, and not just that stupid move where you push the cork down into the bottle because that's just sloppy
  • is an astonishing cornhole player
  • can fix a lawnmower with only a paper clip and his bare hands
  • perfect sky hook he never uses
  • can do like four magic tricks
  • always has watch batteries
  • is tone deaf unless imitating Eddie Vedder's voice at karaoke, which he does perfectly
  • only has one $15 Radio Shack remote for everything in his house. (Every time he flips to the the Discovery Channel your phone rings.)
  • will bail you and his kid out of jail for underage drinking without telling your parents, even if he still gets your name wrong on the ride home. (I f your name starts with J you're Joey. if your name starts with any other letter you are also Joey.)
  • appears out of nowhere when you're confused about something on your pocket knife and says, "Oh, that thing is useful as hell. Useful as hell. You'll need that to clean a fish."
  • can run a six-minute mile without sweating much, but never does because it's hot out there.


Find a trampoline, zip-line, unaffordable sports car, a giant untrained dog, a poorly kept but obviously well-used yard. Look up on the roof: is there a frisbee stuck up there? Or better still, is there a child poised on the roof, preparing to jump into the pool, or on the trampoline and then into the pool?

You've identified Impulsive Dad's house, where Impulsive Dad is taking every three he can in pickup games, putting far too much lighter fluid on the grill every time, and occasionally apologizing profusely to his wife while loading up a child with a broken bone or two into the tiny backseat of that unaffordable but utterly "boss" sports car. They know him at the emergency room, and the name of all his children, because Impulsive Dad can do a lot of things, but saying "no" is not one of them.


Seen less than CIA Dad, because he lives overseas and/or is from Pullman, Wash., which is basically Canada. You know he's Australian, and that he visits a few times each year and is introduced as "Aron, who is from Australia." Impulsive Dad, hearing this, is like, "Oh, eh, g'day mate!" because Impulsive Dad only finds one thing irresistible, and that's temptation. Scary Dad, wearing a cardigan and grey slacks and standing in earshot, drinks a scotch in the corner and says nothing while looking at the sunset. You get a burger from Grillin' Dad Ginobili, and grab a beer from the cooler. You don't have an opener, but hey -- there's Surprisingly Useful Dad. He's opening it effortlessly with a nickel, because that's just what Surprisingly Useful Dads do.

No one knows where Sexy Cheatin' Dad is at this party. (But no one ever does.)