What could be a “tagline” for the San Antonio Spurs?
The San Antonio Spurs have been the NBA’s model for consistency over the past 20 years. They’ve won five championships and haven’t had a losing season since 1996-97, before Tim Duncan was selected in the 1997 NBA Draft.
For a team like this, there have been words or phrases thrown around. They used to be called “boring” for the slow style of play in the 2000’s and weren’t seen as a ratings-driving team for the league. There was rarely, if ever, a tagline for the Spurs, however.
Taglines are used in marketing and advertising to give an idea or vision of what’s being sold. How would you sell San Antonio’s team to someone wanting to know about the organization? Would it get them to buy-in?
The following are five already-created and famous taglines used for companies over the past 70-80 years. Which ones apply to the Spurs? Let’s make it like an episode of Mad Men and evaluate:
5. “Your flexible friend” – Access Credit Card
Access Credit Card doesn’t exist anymore, but it once had a popular tagline, “Your flexible friend.” It’s unique, but can relate to the San Antonio Spurs.
As you’ll see later on, the Spurs adjust with the times. They moved away from the all-defensive look that won them four championships from 1999-2007, and went with the modern-day look of the NBA. This was a faster, more athletic, and perimeter-laden lineup.
Now, the Spurs have to adapt to the smaller, positionless ways of the NBA. It may not happen overnight, but they should be flexible, enough to join the other teams that play like this.
Next: No. 3 and 4
4. “Can you hear me now?” – Verizon
If you had a television in the early 2000’s, there’s a decent chance you heard the “Can you hear me now?” guy on the Verizon commercials. It remained for much of this decade, before phasing out.
How does this tie to the San Antonio Spurs? Well, for years, despite the talents they had like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, the team was always to the side, while the more popular and media-friendly organizations took to the forefront. That includes the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, and Oklahoma City Thunder.
With all the hype around these teams, the Spurs sat in the background and kept to their business. They remained very good or great and, when in doubt, would strike with a big win, as one of the best teams in the NBA, or capturing a championship. That’s when you would really hear them.
With the Rockets and Warriors, rightfully so for the latter, getting all the media treatment for their moves or superstar-laden teams, maybe this is when the Spurs make another statement. Will you be able to hear them by season’s end?
3. “Grace…space…pace” – Jaguar
A classic tagline for the car company, Jaguar. They produce high-end vehicles dating back to the 1930’s. Grace, space, and pace will all play into the San Antonio Spurs’ plans for the 2017-18 season.
They always perform with the smooth, gracefulness on the court. They’re fundamentally sound, mostly making the proper plays on offense, distributing the ball and as a consistently top defensive team.
Space is something the team adopted over the past few years. With the NBA all about spacing the floor to find a long-distance shooter, the Spurs adjusted and added their own sharpshooters. They had this on previous title-winning teams (Steve Kerr, Steve Smith, Danny Ferry), but those teams were known for defensive prowess.
Now, it’s smaller lineups that can athletically go around defenses and find an open shot. Look for that with the addition of Rudy Gay and the lack of big man depth for the 2017-18 season.
Pace will be another factor, but how much? The Spurs finished 27th in the 2016-17 season in Pace, with a 94.2 mark. They play slow, but after all the success of the Gregg Popovich era, can this be argued?
Next: No. 1 and 2
2. “Think small” – Volkswagon
Another classic car brand is Volkswagon, which has a different look than most vehicles. It came about in the 1930’s, around the time Jaguar debuted.
“Think small” will apply to the small-ball lineups the San Antonio Spurs may run next season. They only added one big man, Joffrey Lauvergne, despite losing Dewayne Dedmon and David Lee. That leaves just Lauvergne to back up Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge. That’s unless Davis Bertans is considered, a player who stands at 6-foot-10 but mostly plays on the perimeter.
While Gasol and Aldridge may start more than a handful of games together, when one of them heads to the bench, it will likely leave the on-court lineup small. That means someone will have to step up as the undersized power forward. Rudy Gay fits that description and, if necessary, Kawhi Leonard, if the Spurs really wanted a small lineup.
1. “Think different” – Apple
Apple is one of the most popular brands of the 2010’s. From iPhones to iPads, televisions and watches, Apple is all over the place in the world.
“Think different” is a phrase that can apply to almost any San Antonio Spurs team. They’ve always gone against the grain of the NBA, with defensive-minded teams and finding reclamation projects out of unknown players. Jonathan Simmons, who left for the Orlando Magic in July, is the most recent example of this.
The Spurs also managed to navigate the salary cap for years, a sharp left turn from what most NBA teams have done. A handful of them are maxed out in salaries given out, as well as crossing the tax threshold. This is never the case for San Antonio’s team, who have managed to work the cap and open up space when needed. They did this with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili’s contract over the past few years.