San Antonio Spurs News

The Impressive Longevity of the San Antonio Spurs

Mar 21, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich reacts during the second half of the game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena. Hornets win 91-88. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich reacts during the second half of the game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena. Hornets win 91-88. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
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Monotony brought on by sustained success is a very good problem to have. The San Antonio Spurs have been one of the premier NBA franchises for nearly two decades.

It’s easy to gloss over the fact that the Spurs are heading to post-season play for a remarkable 19th season in a row, and the 26th time in the last 27 seasons. While the Spurs have bigger fish to fry than to celebrate the raising of yet another playoff banner, a moment of congratulations is still warranted.

In the midst of a historically dominant season, the Spurs could very well end up winning 70+ games and not get the top seed in the West. Considering that no team without Michael Jeffery Jordan had ever eclipsed 70 wins before this year, Stephen Curry and the gang out in Golden State have prevented the Spurs from basking in the glow of reverence from circles of NBA fans all too willing to bestow “Greatest Team Ever” titles to whichever dominant squad looms freshest in their minds.

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Maybe this generation of basketball fans didn’t have their eyes glued to “The NBA on NBC” watching Michael and Scottie Pippen dismantle teams, but they associate greatness in the form of the Splash Brothers raining 3s on ESPN or Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker meticulously slicing passes through opposing defenses to the tune of TNT commentary from Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller.

If fans have learned anything about the Spurs during their run of dominance, it’s that while they shy away from flash and sizzle, their fundamental approach to solid basketball devoid of any bicep-kissing or mugging for the cameras after a highlight reel dunk breeds the type of success and style they’re most comfortable with. Gregg Popovich with his gruff demeanor and course communication is more Bill Belichick than Rex Ryan, and maybe his priority of on-court accolades instead of off-court drama subconsciously rubbed off on his players over the years.

It’s impossible to know whether a Wake Forrest-era Tim Duncan was always as measured and stoic as he is now, or if a player already prone to quiet fervency minus the bravado of the modern mass-media athlete simply had his natural attitude exacerbated by a coach with a similar world view. Nevertheless, it is said that the greatness of individuals is highlighted by the context of their existence.

Duncan and Popovich spending their careers together living in nondescript harmony has produced almost unprecedented success for fans of the NBA, and the basketball gods wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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