This video should surely compel you to admire the San Antonio Spurs.
After almost dethroning the champs in a pulsating seven game Finals series last year, and seemingly about to cruise past an Ibaka-less Thunder into a 2nd consecutive NBA Finals, it’s getting harder for even the casual fan to ignore the Spurs.
Unfortunately they are often branded with the ‘efficient offense’ tag in a manner that tells you it’s not intended as a compliment.
They are viewed as a sensible, deliberate group of young men, but not the excitable, unpredictable type that screams must-see TV.
Despite this, their refreshing focus on sharing the ball attracts more and more plaudits with each 11-pass combination that culminates in an uncontested Tiago Splitter lay-up.
If the Miami Heat are described in one word as explosive and the Indiana Pacers fiery, the San Antonio Spurs are cool. Whether up by 30 points or behind by one point with five seconds left to win a game, their temperament remains the same.
It’s not that they aren’t happy. Presumably they are. Wins reap happiness, and the Spurs have a lot of them. They just choose to eschew excess, favouring instead perspective and level-headedness, Patty Mills’ weird towel waving antics aside.
Tim Duncan perfectly exhibits his team’s easy calmness. It’s tough to extract controversial sound bites from the 38 year old power forward. And the worse thing he’s probably done in a game is get ejected. For laughing. On the bench.
Even rising star Kawhi Leonard has the same understated manner as Duncan.
Of course it’s not an accident. Coach Gregg Popovich has a say in player acquisitions and he frequently refers to his recruits as people who have ‘gotten over themselves’.
In fact it’s usually the coach that provides the more ‘exciting’ newsworthy anecdotes, whether it’s by berating a referee and getting ejected midway through a regular season game or by delivering yet another short, sharp, sarcastic retort to a reporter who couldn’t think of a more imaginative question than “How do you prepare for the next game?”
Ever heard of the phrase ‘Let the ball do the talking?’ That is precisely what this team does.
So go on. Watch the video and admire. You will respect the Spurs even more than you do already – which is a lot, I hope.