Crafting the San Antonio Spurs Mt. Rushmore
By Ryan McCallum
Picture yourself on a leisurely stroll down the River Walk on a cool fall San Antonio day. You round the turn south of Navarro Street and you look upon the five-headed statue depicting our great former Spurs. The year is, of course, 2023. You take a moment to wipe a tear from your eye as you look down upon your son and tell him the story you’ve told him so many times before. It is a tale of great struggle, great accomplishment, and NBA Championships.
Your son looks back up at you and asks you to tell him who the faces are on the statue, and you say…
There is never a better time in the year to begin defining a Mt. Rushmore made up of great San Antonio Spurs than in an offseason coming off a Finals victory. As the leaves begin to change color, and training camp begins for the NBA, this writer finds a lot of spare time to make a pass at laying the initial blueprints for such a statue. If you are a sculptor, take this column as an open purchase order.
Mt. Spurs-more is harder to create than you may think. Clearly the Big-Three are in. Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Tim Duncan have brought successes to the River City that would never have been otherwise experienced. The organization under their care has flourished into the model sports franchise in America for any sport, any team. This triumvirate is responsible for 5 World Titles, and such regular season dominance that the Southwest Division can be considered property of the San Antonio Spurs.
Furthermore, how can we sculpt a Mt. Spurs-more without the chiseled mug of The Admiral? David Robinson laid the foundation for success and made winning an option at an otherwise spare NBA team. Robinson is in.
Mt. Spurs-more is harder to create than you may think. Clearly the Big-Three are in. Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Tim Duncan have brought successes to the River City that would never have been otherwise experienced, but who else is in?
So far there should be no controversy in our models. The Big-Three, plus Robinson, are immediately linked to all real Championship success the Spurs have experienced in the history of the franchise. If you would disagree, write to R.C. Buford.
Clearly the Spurs have thrived off of the role players added around Robinson, Duncan, Ginobili and Parker. Should they also be considered for the mountain? A few easily come to mind: Sean Elliot, Avery Johnson, Bruce Bowen, Robert Horry, and Kawhi Leonard. They are great players in their own right, but should they be memorialized on statue? Not likely.
So with one slot left, who is in? This is the problem. Traditionalists will go with the Iceman. George Gervin was a star in the league, and San Antonio’s first star. He made basketball an event in a state where football is king.
But, if Mt. Spurs-more is about franchise impact can we confidently say that Gervin was more vital to the franchise than Gregg Popovich? Coach Pop is consistently a contender for NBA Coach of the Year, and is the longest tenured coach in any sport. His leadership has brought five titles to South Texas, and has put the Spurs in-line for a sixth championship.
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Coach Pop’s influence is all over the Spurs and the NBA. He is a transcendent influence on the Association, and his coaching tree will continue branch off into successful franchises.
Coach Popovich is in.
So, as I formulate a Kickstarter campaign to get Mt. Spurs-more constructed, and you generously consider a donation, understand that the five faces of virtue are: Duncan, Parker, Ginobli, Robinson, and Popovich. As you ponder your Cuban-coffee at Ocho in Hotel Havana, and look out onto the River Walk and Mt. Spurs-more remember that it started here.
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