This is a headline-driven league. Stories are always breaking from the locker room, tension always building in front offices, and teams constantly scrambling to change up their roster for the trade deadline. For most teams in the NBA, it’s just a simple product of business.
Take the Bulls, for example, who sat two of their best players Friday night because they dared to call out their underachieving teammates.
Look at the Knicks, who are making top headlines for wanting to desperately trade their franchise player for virtually nothing. Even the Cavs are joining the party, building tension within the organization due to a failing relationship between LeBron James and team owner, Dan Gilbert.
Doesn’t it seem unfortunate that so many high profile teams are making news for all the wrong reasons? Why does it seem like there’s more drama in an NBA locker room than on a Chick-Flick romance movie?
Then there’s the Spurs, who seem to break all the rules. The Spurs, who seem to just keep on going without a care in the world, and loving every minute of it in the process. When’s the last time the Spurs made headlines for off-court drama? When’s the last time the team let controversy control their season? No, seriously. After searching the internet for some LEGITIMATE Spurs drama, I only came up with one big incident in 2012, when coach Pop was fined $25,000 for resting the Big Three.
Somehow, this franchise stays away from the spotlight, and for Spurs General Manager, R.C. Buford, he doesn’t want it any other way.
And why should he? The Spurs have been winning this way since before the turn of the century.
Ever since the old days of Tim Duncan, David Robinson, and Avery Johnson, San Antonio has always been on the basketball radar. But once the “euro-trio” of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili got together in 1999, it only served to guarantee that the Spurs would contend for many years to come. And contend they would, winning 5 championships between 1999 and 2014.
Funny, though, that after 2010, everyone expected the aging trio, and the team, to wilt away like everything eventually does. After all, Father time is undefeated, right? Timmy, Tony, Manu, and Pop had their turn at the top, and most teams don’t keep that turn for very long.
The Spurs, however, amazingly found a way to beat all of that. They pushed Father Time aside -even for a moment- to continue to shine in ways we’d never seen before. They mastered the process of ball movement and had an offense that most folk only imagined in their dreams. They challenged even the best of teams time and time again, constantly proving to the world that they were not done. Rather than gain attention for their fallen status, they became known as the team with a flawless offense, disciplined defense, and superior basketball IQ. They became the team who knows how to win.
When old age finally did come knocking on their door, with Tim Duncan finally retiring, they managed to stay standing. They used their two new stars (Kawhi and Aldridge) to propel the franchise in the most “Spurs” way possible. Rather than gain attention for their changing roster, they became known as the team with a flawless offense, disciplined defense, and superior basketball IQ. They were able to maintain themselves as the team who knew ho to get it done.
Which then leaves us here, and now. In an NBA consumed by attention hungry headlines, and front page locker room drama. In an NBA that likes to sell fans more about the “show”, rather than the product. Now the Spurs sit, where all eyes are diverted to the best shows in town.
But it doesn’t bother them. It never has. They are continuing to sit, just winning along the way. Because for San Antonio, it was never about the noise. It was never about making a show. They simply play the game of basketball, with no questions asked.
Maybe that’s why they’ve found so much success and stability after all these years because they are focused on the right things. Maybe that’s why folks who play for San Antonio never seem to want to leave. There’s just a certain magic when you think about the Spurs.
Yeah, they may not be the most exciting team, or the most talented. They’re underdogs. But for this squad? That’s the only way they operate.