There is a general consensus among the NBA fan landscape (and Golden State’s David Lee, apparently) that the San Antonio Spurs are boring. I find this assessment both lazy and, quite frankly, boring.
Okay, so right off the bat I need to confess to something that might influence my thoughts here: I am a long time Spurs fan. I won’t shy away from this fact. I bleed black and silver. Let it also be known, however, that I am an NBA fan as well. I care about the league as an entity.
Quite honestly, I don’t see what makes the Spurs boring. I don’t find their style of play boring in any way. What am I missing here? Is it the lack of a Blake Griffin-style big man, leaping over his opponents for a soul-crushing jam that gets the crowd on its feet and the turnstiles spinning? I can appreciate Griffin’s style of play I suppose, but when he isn’t dunking, I think you’ll find he’s actually pretty – dare I say it – boring.
Our big men – Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter – are predominantly post-players and can barely jump over a phone book. But then, so are Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph for the Memphis Grizzlies, and I’ve never seen or read about them being hung with the boring tag.
Now that I think about it, if the Spurs are boring, who isn’t boring? What makes the New York Knicks, for example, an awe-inspiring team? Carmelo Anthony might be an offensive force but his game isn’t the most exciting to watch, at least not from where I sit. And the Indiana Pacers? Paul George aside, they are a fairly predictable and ho-hum team, particularly on the offensive end of the floor.
I visited one of those dorky message boards a little while ago, one devoted entirely to the NBA and basketball in general, to get a feel for the everyday NBA fans perspective on the Spurs. I came away with a headache. Are people this angry and vitriolic in their everyday lives, because if so, the world is in serious trouble going forward. Maybe it’s the anonymity of posting on such a space that causes such caustic remarks, but after stripping away the ignorance and blind hate I was able to glean the following as “reasons” for the boring tag:
- They win too much
- They’re old
- Their uniforms are boring and ugly
- I hate Tim Duncan’s face, Manu Ginobili’s nose etc.
Hmm. So basically, the Spurs are boring because of:
- The fact that they’ve constructed a team that is good enough to play at a high enough level to compete for championships each and every season
- Not being immune to the ageing process, like every other human being on the planet
Those aren’t reasons. Not legitimate ones in any case. They win a lot and you hate their clothes. If they won 30 games year in and year out, I guarantee you that the rest of the negative comments would not rate a mention. Hating a perennial loser is too easy and kind of cruel; doing the same to a successful franchise is fun. People love tearing down a winner. Look at LeBron James. I’m no fan but the hate he inspires is ridiculous.
It occurred to me the other day, and I think this is truly where the hatred for the Spurs originates: you were raised on the Michael Jordan model of team success. When the Chicago Bulls were winning titles back in the 90’s, it was generally considered that those were Jordan’s titles. He’s attributed to six rings. Not Scottie Pippen. Not John Paxson. Not Horace Grant. And when the Lakers threepeated in the early 2000’s, those were Shaq’s (and to a lesser extent, Kobe’s) rings. Because of Jordan’s impact on the way we see the game, we don’t attribute team success to the team itself anymore. We laud the quote-unquote best player on the winning team.
And the Spurs, of course, don’t work like that. Not this incarnation in any event. The Spurs are a team in the truest sense of the word. Through the first five games of this years NBA Finals, Danny Green was our MVP. He was barely in the league two years ago. No one wants Green on their box of Wheaties. It goes against the notion of supporting one truly great athlete, and one only. Maybe this speaks more to the culture of celebrity worship in the US. Who knows?
Remember this, folks:
“When people are bored, it is primarily with their own selves that they are bored.” – Eric Hoffer