The San Antonio Spurs refueled this year. With the sun slowly setting on their storied Big Three (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker) the Spurs went out and added new bigs LaMarcus Aldridge and David West to the hot pot that's now stirred by all-around basketball genius Kawhi Leonard. Even though Aldridge isn't clearly a natural fit with the Spurs hyper-kinetic ball movement style, it could work because he's a great basketball player. There's always room on the Spurs for that.
But since there are no guarantees in life (except that Tim Duncan will get at least 8 rebounds if he plays), it's time to celebrate the Spurs. The Spurs are a true team in an era (and a business) that increasingly emphasizes the individual. Sports were once a way to teach children good ways to do things: how to strive for consistency, how to share, how to work as a team, to sacrifice and to measure risk/reward. Some teams still exemplify the best in us. Here are 13 reasons to admire the Spurs -- and to teach your kids to admire them, too.
- The Spurs have won 50 games or more in each of the last 14 seasons.
- The Spurs have made the playoffs 24 out of the last 25 seasons
- The Spurs hold the record for the highest field-goal percentage in an NBA Finals, a result of sharing the ball.
- The Spurs have won four out of the five NBA Finals they played in.
- Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker have more regular season wins together than any other threesome.
- Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker have more playoff wins together than any other threesome.
- When Tony Parker led the Spurs in scoring in 2014 Finals, it was with the fewest points per game (17.4) of any leading scorer on a championship team in NBA history. (Again, sharing the ball!)
- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is the longest tenured active coach among all major American professional sports.
- Gregg Popovich has an advantage studying defenses -- he studied the Soviet Union at the US Air Force Academy and almost joined the CIA. (Keep learning stuff, kids!)
- In Popovich's first year as Spurs head coach, the team finished just 20-62.
- Tim Duncan's nickname is "The Big Fundamental" -- the most boring, wonderful, appropriate nickname in sports. Kids, aspire to master the fundamentals!
- The Spurs keep things simple. Kawhi Leonard is now the Spurs leader. Popovich says this about him: "He’s a pretty good player, so he probably needs the ball now and then."
- Just watch them play.