Monday, October 10, 2005

30 Reasons to Get Fired Up For the 2005-06 NBA Season - #2

San Antonio's Quest to Become a Dynasty

One question I always like to ask my fellow NBA cronies is what their feelings are towards the defending champion Spurs. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, mostly everyone agrees that they respect the hell out of them. Good coaching, hard nose defense, and a congenial superstar make San Antonio one team no one can truly detest. But heading into the 05-06 season, it seems that fans’ sentiments towards this club may start to change. After winning their second title in three years last June, along with adding two former All-Stars and the promising Fabricio Oberto this summer, the Spurs may quickly transform into the NBA’s bad boys. And why would that happen to a team with such hard-working and dedicated players? Well because we may have to start associating this team with the D-word. That’s right folks, if the San Antonio Spurs add another Larry O’Brien trophy to their collection this upcoming season, we’ll have no choice but to label them a dynasty. The question is, is this good for the league?

Why it is:
In this day in age when the front page rivalries are highly lacking, it’s always good to have a team to hate. Like the Yankees in baseball (in the winning, not the $200 million sense), the Spurs could transform into that pedestal franchise that teams spend their entire off-seasons gunning to knock off. While it’s quite premature to put a team like San Antonio in the same sentence as the Yankees, believe me, the Spurs wouldn’t be too far off if they’re hoisting yet another banner at this time next season. But it starts with the players and our ability and willingness to start maliciously disliking them. The first guy on that list would have to be Manu Ginobili. For now, most people love this guy, if not for his acrobatic play on the court, than for his seemingly immortal passion to win. But transforming into one of the most clutch performers in the league, Ginobili could soon be hearing the nightly boo birds emerging in opposing arenas. Look at Reggie Miller; the guy put Pacer teams on his back for years with countless big shots and clutch performances. You’re telling me Manu didn’t give you that same type of “Man I hate this guy” feeling this past postseason? And while that hate may begin innocently with one player, the contagiousness of the emotion could slowly start to pile on others. Sure Tim Duncan and Robert Horry will always be safe from that sentiment, but guys like Tony Parker, Michael Finley, Nick Van Exel, Bruce Bowen, etc. can easily be put in that category. But believe it or not, this is all a good thing. It’s puts fans in the seats and in front of their televisions just at the hope of the Spurs getting knocked off. While it starts as a simple desire for the Spurs to lose, fans can’t help themselves to become more and more entranced. From a team standpoint, it makes organizations hungrier to knock that off that club and subsequently gives birth to heated rivalries. Again, a very good thing for the NBA.

Why it is not:
Because no one cares about the Spurs. They don’t play in a big city, or have a handful of heady rivals. Their best player is arguably the most respected player in the entire league. Their coach is an NBA nice guy. Hell, their mascot is even cool. No one has any desire to hate this team, and even worse, when they are in the Playoffs or even the Finals, it gives the common fan even more reason to change the channel. Having a team from a city like San Antonio dominating the league will stray fans from the NBA even further until the big name cities step up and knock them off. Instead of rooting against the Spurs, fans will simply watch something else until their team starts progressing and challenging for the title.

While I hate to make the latter argument, for some moron sports fans this will always be the case. Unless their team or an organization from New York, LA, Chicago, Boston, etc. is on top of the league, their interest will stray. But for those of us enthralled by the NBA or even into it enough to watch a game or two a week, having the Spurs as the favorites yet again couldn’t be more beneficial. Rivalries are just waiting to burst off of their success, first in Phoenix, then in Houston, eventually in LA; and by that time, New York will have their organization up and running, as will Boston, Cleveland, Atlanta (maybe stretching it here), etc. You get the point? The league needs a starting point to regain the passion it held in the 80s and 90s. Right now there are a handful of decent rivalries, but no hatred to build off of whatsoever. San Antonio could change all of that. Remember, hatred is good. It builds passion; passion builds rivalries; rivalries are essential to the NBA’s success. And while the league can certainly consider itself a success at this time, there is undoubtedly more room to grow. Perhaps we’ll start to see just how much room there is once another dynasty is crowned. Stay tuned…


At 12:31 AM, Blogger michael said...

my pick for the next rivalry would be DET-SA. i think both of these teams will be competitive for years to come, and i predict at least two more finals appearances together. bold and edgy, but possible.

your thoughts?

At 1:19 AM, Anonymous Mike P said...


you hit it right on the button. However, I also think that it is truly unfair to hate this team. They are a team of guts and hard work and excellent coaching. I believe that it's just a bunch of jealousy and hate because they execute so well and have that ever so hard to attain "chemistry". You are also right. We are in a very small market and no one cares about little ole San Antonio; we are only starting to get the respect. I think this is very good for the NBA though, because not only will it force other teams to step their game up, but we'll also hopefully see better quality basketball and players giving it their all. keep up the great work!

At 1:38 AM, Anonymous Hamish said...

Talking bout hate what about Indy v Det. If the Pistons are hanging round for a while so are the pacers on Jermaine O'Neals back. It'll be the big eastern showdown with the greatest story of all time.

At 4:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We'll likely see a bit of build-up of the Miami-San Antonio tilts this year. Miami felt they were heir-apparents with that high-profile trade, then SA does them better by nabbing NVE and Finley. The Heat will bark a lot about being Championship contenders. Both teams are chock full of personalities - even the Spurs, even if they're brushed down a little.

The best Finals matchup from a pure ratings standpoint, if we consider for purposes San Antonio a lock, is this one. Shaq and his crew make up in charisma what SA lacks, they're both deep and built similarly.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger asdf said...

You know, I was reading your why it's good and why it's not good for san antonio to be the best in the league and i agree with both. i love the spurs. they are by far my favorite team to watch in the nba. however, my friend is one of those fans who hate the spurs and says they are boring. i try to tell them they arent boring, they are just good. they can play how ever you want them to. they ran with the suns and beat them, and they slowed it down and got it done against the pistons. to quote larry brown, the spurs not the pistons "play the game the way its supposed to be played".they are just damn good and i feel bad for you if you can't appreciate it.

At 7:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i disagree completely. i love watching the spurs. they do it right, and manu is one of the 3 or 4 most exciting players in the world. my only beef is that too many of their regular season games are blowouts. but i'm not gonna blame it on them.

i always get frustrated when i see the stupid defensive mistakes and bricks thrown up by other teams. THOSE are the teams that are hard to watch.

is there a single unlikable guy on the spurs? are there any mark blounts? chris webbers? sprewell/cassells? no. even though the spurs are always gonna be the favorite, they're a DESERVING favorite who work hard on the court and i will always have a hard time rooting against them, even when they're playing the sixers.

even their coach is impossible to root against. i love guys like rip and ben wallace, but it was always easy to root against the pistons with larry brown at the helm.

i really don't get why you're always hating on the spurs. they're not like, say, the lakers or the eagles or usc or notre dame or even the pats. they're not overhyped. they're actually underhyped, underappreciated. they play smart basketball, and have manu.

shaq may be my favorite player/personality, and wade is terrific to root for, too, but i will ALWAYS root for the spurs ahead of the other elite teams in the nba this era. they'll always be the underdog, the little guy, the rocky balboa, because everybody's always dissing them for some pretender with more flash and less substance.

and yes i know that you argued both sides, but let's face it you're generally pettily slanted against the spurs.

also, for the people who don't realize how good the nba is right now, fuck them. it would be awfully nice to have the game marketed at real fans rather than have kelly clarkson, kobe/phil, and tom cruise's buttfuck buddy shoved down our throats in every tv and radio ad. if your product is good, you don't need to sell out by focusing on ashlee simpson halftime shows and overplayed off-court drama.

sopranos never did that. simpsons has no laugh track. the nba and espn and tnt etc should just focus on the game and the real players and the real teams -- i.e., the spurs -- and realize that the audience they're courting will never be fans for more than a couple games a year because they're racist asswipes hung up on the fact that a bunch of young black men are making millions more than they are. and of course this "negative image" will only be more of a problem as long as the marketers focus on the aforementioned tangential garbage rather than the game itself.


At 9:29 AM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

All excellent points, but I can't find in my article where I said I WANT to hate the Spurs. I wish everything could be merry and we all live happily ever after but the fact is, if they win again people will start to hate on them.

The Patriots are a hateable team? Really? Since when? They define hard work, great management, team play, etc. People only hate them because Tom Brady is a pretty boy and they have won three Super Bowls in four years. That's the ONLY reasons why people can't stand them.

I see San Antone as a very similar squad in that they do everything by the book and field an entire roster of likeable guys. BUT, eventually that starts to matter less and less as they continue to win more and more. Face it, no one wants to see the same team win every year, it gets boring no matter how great of a team they are.

Trust me Matt, I appreciate the Spurs just as much as you do, but all I was saying here is that it's inevitable that SA will start being hated on if they become a dynasty. And so if and when that happens that won't necessarily be a bad thing, rather something the league can build on.

I'm not picketing outside their practices or cutting Ginobili's brake lines, I'm simply preparing for when they become the Evil Empire of the NBA. That doesn't mean I hate them, I'm just stating what I feel is fact. That was where I was trying to go with this, sorry if you thought otherwise. Peace

PS-And for those that can't appreciate the NBA, I agree with you Fuck Them. But at the same time, would I like more fans to get into the sport as much as I am, absolutely. So if the Spurs (or any team for that matter) can somehow add more die hards to our camp, the more the merrier.

At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmm... ugly...


At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for responding ant. haven't there been some beloved dynasties though? even you mentioned the pats in that way (i only dislike them because the press slobbers over belichick and viniateri EVERY fricking week, and i don't see this even beginning to be a problem for the spurs because they fly under the radar which is constantly zeroed in on kobe phil shaq kg ai lebron and larry brown).

i don't remember anyone disliking walsh's niners. i think people LIKE to see and root for dynasties. it's fun to be witnessing greatness in its prime. look at the ratings for tiger woods. you're gonna tell me he's any less boring than duncan and pop?

a big reason people hate the yankees -- the original evil empire -- is because they're in a huge city with a huge media with an asshole owner and a monster payroll. none of that is true about the spurs. that's what makes them different than, say, the lakers, the cowboys, duke, and the other hated dynasties.

the biggest reason san antone was boring last year was because so many of their games were such blowouts that their star players rarely played any meaningful minutes. i think the west was WAAAAY down last year (just look at how the suns and sonics came out of nowhere) and most of the talented teams in both conferences were unusually inexperienced. things should be a lot more exciting this season.


At 9:25 AM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Sarah, stop drinking. Matt, I think it depends on what type of fan you are. Take Paul and I for example. I am a die-hard Yankees, Giants, Celtics, and UConn fan. While Paul may be developing an Eagles fascination, he isn't close to the die-hard level that I'm at. He appreciates sports for the competition, as do i, but I care a lot more about the team following as well. If you're like me, you have the ability (and willingness?)to hate dynasties because it means your team isn't winning. If you're like Paul you probably appreciate those legendary teams because they define how that sport is meant to be played and won. I think that's the best way to look at it. Holla back. Yeah, I was gonna delete that, but instead I'd rather people just make fun of me. Peace

PS- No joke, my verification word is vaginml. Gotta love it


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