What makes a team popular? Fan interest? Broadcast revenue, sponsorships, marketing agreements and enormous media streams?
And what makes the San Antonio Spurs different? When other teams strive in the limelight, they wanted nothing out of it. For fifteen years, with all the accolades and titles, people tend to turn off their TVs when the Spurs are playing. There is so much selflessness, too much teamwork that somehow makes the game boring. People wanted exciting dunks, some cockiness and superstars who promise not one, not two… championships.
You can’t put food on your table without the people filling up the bleachers. That is why the Spurs as a team put their effort more locally, connecting with the community, charitable works and a lot more. The team is just unconcerned about the crazy world of basketball in and off the court and they dread attention. Somehow Tim Duncan personifies it all.
Tim always remembered the nursery rhyme that his mother repeatedly uttered while he was still a boy.
“Good, better, best.
Never let it rest.
Until your good is better.
And your better is your best.”
Tim never settled for second best, that is why he demanded attention and hard work from his teammates. Being a Spur requires concentration and focus, more like living in a monastic existence cutting off from the rest of the league. From the management all the way to coach Popovich and Duncan they have already accepted that they are just a special group who wants lesser noise and more emphasis on their craft.
That made them graceful in defeat, the Spurs accepted their fate. Win or lose, even if this could be the last game of Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan, they still walked with their heads up high. They fought a good fight, they had their chances when Tim got a mismatched and went to his hook shot, then got the put back but couldn’t get it in.
The 2013 NBA finals showcased Miami’s stronghold to defend their championship, but it also the emergence of Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Gary Neal as the next big thing in San Antonio. Their almost emotionless reactions were carved right in Tim Duncan’s mold. He was the perfect role model you could ever wish for. Tim is one of the 10 best players in NBA history, a future hall of famer a very cerebral player and yet he doesn’t have a shade of ego on his body.
Facing retirement, Tim Duncan will continue to be the franchise’s inspiration.
He will never stop… until your good is better, and your better is your best.
You can call them boring, they don’t really care. They are successful in their own terms… away from the lime light and away from it all.