Every time the San Antonio Spurs get this deep into the playoffs it turns into a referendum on NBA fans. You’ve seen the columns before and you’ll surely see them again during the course of the Western Conference finals: The Spurs represent what’s right about sports, so you really need to appreciate them. Etc., on and on, blah blah blah.
Then the television ratings will come out and reveal how little America really cares about the Spurs. They can retool their roster and revamp their style into the highest-scoring offense in these playoffs and the perception of them will never change. And let's face it, as long as Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are around the Spurs will seem...redundant. The problem is, they're a PBS documentary and we're a nation that's addicted to shows about the Kardashians.
So be it. I’m not going to tell you who to like and what to watch. I sure hate it when soccer snobs tell me I need to appreciate their version of football. If I were going to tell you to pause and enjoy a team it would be the Miami Heat, because if you’re still mad that LeBron had a TV show and the Heat threw a party you’ll miss out on breathtaking basketball plays like these. And if you find the Heat’s act too self-serving for your taste, maybe you should root for a low-key team like the Spurs. Oh, that’s right, I said I wouldn’t tell you to root for the Spurs. See the quandary you created?
People keep overlooking a critical aspect of the Spurs: they don’t care if you don’t care about them. In a strange way, the thing I respect the most about them is that they’re not concerned about whether or not I respect them.
When Tony Parker, fresh off beating the Clippers and outplaying Chris Paul, was asked if he should be ranked higher among the elite point guards he responded, “I gave up on that dream a long time ago. Since I’m in San Antonio, we’re under the radar all the time, I don’t really care about that. For me, the most important opinion is Coach Popovich. As long as Coach Pop is happy, I’m good.”
You’ll find a similar sentiment throughout the locker room. You definitely won’t hear anything like what Danny Granger of the Pacers recently had to say about how his team felt disrespected because of its lack of national TV appearances.
The goal is the Larry O’Brien trophy, not the Nielsen ratings. The Spurs recognize that better than any other franchise. That’s why they stay winning. And if their winning ways doesn’t make any national noise, their response is more silence.
Whether or not you enjoy the Spurs, we all can appreciate a little peace and quiet.