NBA Finals ratings show Spurs fans are ready to usher in the Wembanyama era

Metropolitans 92 v Cholet Basket - Betclic Elite Playoffs
Metropolitans 92 v Cholet Basket - Betclic Elite Playoffs / Jean Catuffe/GettyImages

The Spurs are on an extended vacation after missing out on the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year, but that didn't stop their fans from tuning into some exhilarating postseason action. Believe it or not, San Antonio ranked fifth among local markets in the Nielsen ratings for Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat, showing how deeply rooted basketball is within the cultural fabric of the 2-1-0.

While the AT&T Center was often barren last season as the Spurs lost 60 games en route to another trip to the NBA Draft Lottery, the fan base has sprung back to life after their favorite franchise hit the jackpot in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. With the once-in-a-lifetime prospect mere weeks from donning the Silver and Black for the first time, it makes sense that the city has an unquenchable craving for hoops again.

The impending arrival of Wembanyama likely explains some of why San Antonio accounted for such a large portion of the national audience for the series opener of the NBA Finals, and it certainly helps that players from both sides have showered the Spurs organization with praise. Kyle Lowry likened Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray to Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, and the Serbian superstar spoke on modeling his game after the Big Fundamental.

Seeing the Spurs faithful following the NBA Finals so closely could be an encouraging sign of things to come. If San Antonio shows up on this scale for a matchup with virtually no bearing on their local ball club, imagine the support they will offer the Silver and Black once Wembanyama graces the court. There are two more weeks until the towering center hears his name called first on draft night, but Alamo City is itching to kick off the Wembanyama era.

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