That’s how many days it’s been since the San Antonio Spurs were in position to close out an NBA Finals series. It was a day I never thought I’d see again.
In 2011, I wrote a Spurs obituary/rant on my blog, after losing to the Grizzlies in the first round.
I hoped for the best. The Spurs gave me way more than I expected. At least during the regular season. But don’t fault me for my anger with this organization. I’ve never been an overconfident/cocky fan. Not for any of my teams…until this season. I believe in destiny. This team was destined to be champions. And in a span of six games, it all came crashing down.
I’m not angry at the fact that they let me down, I’m angry at the Spurs false advertising. You can put the most beautiful and expensive rims in the world on a Camry. It’s still a f****** Camry! But a “new” Richard Jefferson, plus the additions of Gary Neal, James Anderson and Tiago Splitter weren’t rims. They were like reupholstering your s***ty stained interior. And that simply doesn’t get the job done.
I was convinced that the dream of a fifth title was dead. But with the lockout shortened season, the familiarity and consistency of the Spurs roster would only prove to be vital in a year with a two week training camp and lack of practice time.
The addition of Kawhi Leonard, trading for Stephen Jackson mid-season and adding Boris Diaw led to a stretch of 20 straight wins, putting the Spurs two games away from another NBA Finals. They seemed unstoppable heading to Oklahoma City. Then the young Thunder won four straight and dashed those dreams.
Again, after attending Game 5 at the AT&T Center, I wrote another obituary.
Ginobili’s age, Duncan, Green and Diaw’s impending free agency…all key pieces to what seems to be the Spurs last hurrah, could all be gone in the blink of an eye.
Nothing will ever be the same again. The golden age of Spurs basketball is no more. There’s nothing more to be done, except to enjoy the Heat and Thunder usher in a new era of competition to the NBA.
The scariest part is knowing the San Antonio Spurs may never make it this far again. Fans have taken 50-win seasons and playoff appearances for granted.
Nothing can take away the accomplishments of this organization and the ability to argue the Spurs as one of the greatest franchises in sports history, as long as it’s cherished correctly. And it can’t be cherished until reality is accepted.
Reality is, Father Time is undefeated. The Spurs dynasty is his newest casualty.
Which leads us to today. After killing the Spurs off for two consecutive years, and picking the Miami Heat to win this series in six games, I feel embarrassed. The confidence I’ve displayed in the Spurs hasn’t been nearly as strong as in previous years. I know I’m not the only one, but it amazes me how often Tim Duncan and company continue to prove me wrong.
Sure the Big Three are probably too old to make a title run, but this isn’t about them anymore. It’s about the role players coming to their aide, while also ushering in a new era of Spurs basketball.
No longer will Danny Green be the second round pick that nobody was willing to give a chance to. A San Antonio victory will ensure Green is Finals MVP. Kawhi Leonard isn’t the quiet and humble defender out of San Diego State. He’s a blossoming superstar, capable of doing nearly everything asked of him. And Tony Parker is the only member of the Big Three who still has work to do, to cement his place in NBA history.
But regardless of the outcome, the next 48 minutes of basketball mean one thing and one thing only to me. Never doubt the system. From top to bottom, the culture Pop and R.C. have built in San Antonio has enabled the organization to rival some of the greatest sports dynasties of all time.
Win and cement your place amongst the all-time great franchises. Lose and you still have the opportunity to finish the job on Thursday. This game, this season, and this dynasty are no longer hinging on life or death, as I once thought.
What I am certain of though, is I’m glad the San Antonio Spurs have proved me wrong. Again. I don’t care about how it makes me look anymore. Because after all, a little humility is good for the writer’s soul.
Go Spurs Go.
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS
Tony Parker – Mario Chalmers
Danny Green – Dwyane Wade
Manu Ginobili – Mike Miller
Kawhi Leonard – LeBron James
Tim Duncan – Chris Bosh
Key Bench Players
Boris Diaw, Gary Neal, Tiago Splitter – Ray Allen, Norris Cole, Shane Battier
Gregg Popovich – Erik Spoelstra
GAME AND BROADCAST INFORMATION
When: Tuesday, June 18th, 2013. 8:00 PM Central Time
Where: American Airlines Arena – Miami, Florida
Television: ABC (National) Radio: 1200 AM WOAI (Local)
For perspective on the Miami Heat, head over time Fansided’s own All U Can Heat.