Go away, San Antonio Spurs

Shea Serrano is a writer. Take him seriously. He wears glasses and owns a tweed jacket with leather elbows. He’s written for Grantland, SLAM, Village Voice, LA Weekly and more.

Here’s the thing: I kind of wish the Spurs would just go away. Not permanently. Just, like, for maybe a few years.

But here’s the other thing: I LOVE THE SPURS.

And that’s why I’m probably a hoodrat. Or something.

Here, an explanation: I grew up in San Antonio. All but two years of my life were spent there. I was bred to be a Spurs fan. My sisters are Spurs fans. My cousins are Spurs fans. My uncles and aunts, Spurs fans. My dad is a Spurs fan. His dad wasn’t a Spurs fan, but only because he lived in Mexico for most of his life. He used to always give us this sweet bread whenever we’d visit him. I’d be like, “Thanks for the sweet bread, Grandpa.” He’d be like, “It’s pan dulce.” Then I’d be like, “Thanks for the sweet bread, Pan Dulce.” Then he’d be like, “…” He never laughed at that shit. Not even a courtesy laugh. I mean, fuck man, I was only eight. I thought it was pretty brilliant. Whatevs.

Spurs fandom: I’ve loved them since I can remember and probably even before that. My dad started taking me to games when I was four or five, all the way back when they played in the HemisFair Arena (I just right now at this very second figured out how clever that name was trying to be), which is when they were really, really shitty. I don’t remember a lot of what was going on, but I remember growing into rooting for Terry Cummings and Vinny Del Negro and Willie Anderson.

WILLIE FUCKING ANDERSON. Oh man, that was my dude.

Everyone at school would be all, “Yo, Jordan went for 50 last night,” and I’d be all, “Yeah, but did you see that layup Willie Anderson got though?!” Willie Anderson was the king of layups. For a lot of years, that’s all we had. Until all of sudden we had everything.

Note: In my head, the Spurs toiled in obscurity with Willie Anderson at the helm for 100 years. I know that to be fact. His plight defined my childhood. Wikipedia, however, asserts that he only played one year (1988) without the assistance of King David. The Internet can be a real bitch sometimes, is what I’m saying. 

When the Spurs won their first title in 1999 (without Willie, sadly), when Avery Johnson hit that jumper to seal it, my father and I celebrated like we’d just watch Zeus create the cosmos. I remember feeling relieved (THEY WON!) but not entirely fulfilled (it was that first lockout season).

When they won their second in 2003 — OH MY GOD WHEN THEY WON IN 2003 — I was beyond insane. I was in college at the time, and having moved away from San Antonio to attend school, had embraced my South Texas fanhood entirely. (In hindsight, this was my apex.) I don’t remember too much of what happened immediately after Timmy’s godlike Game 6, but I do know that I’m glad police don’t investigate missing persons reports for hookers as adamantly as they maybe should.

When they won their third in 2005, outlasting the Pistons in seven, it was cool, but I don’t know. I remember being happy, but not elated like I probably should’ve been. That’s about when things started to change, or at least that’s when I started to notice, I guess. I could feel it in my bones. It was the first time I’d become aware that I was more excited watching teams that I didn’t like lose than I was watching the team that I did like win.

Their next championship, 2007′s, they played LeBron James and some other guys he dragged along with him. It came and went. It might as well have been Flag Day.

I bought the Championship DVD they make every year for the champs, sure, but it was out of instinct and respect, mostly. I mean, when I bought the one from ’99 (it came on VHS), I watched it 1,000,000 times (an estimation). Same with ’03′s DVD* and, to a lesser extent, ’05′s. With 2007′s though, eight years of massive success after their first title, after my ungratefulness had butterflied fully, I didn’t watch it until, like, a week afterward.

Now today, I’m still a fan obviously. But the relationship is complicated. And I think it’s because of an absolutely ridiculous reason: I’ve had enough winning.

I need the journey. That’s all I’ve ever wanted, probably. That’s all any fan wants, I’d guess. I need the Spurs to be bad for a few years, get some new people in, build it back up, then win it for the first time again so I can screw it all up a second time. I’m like that lady from Michigan that won a million dollars but kept trying to collect food stamps. I hit the lotto and that’s great but all I want to do is go back to doing hoodrat shit.

The Spurs were six games away from winning another title before being ousted by the Thunder and I never cared. I didn’t want another championship ring. I just wanted watch Basketball Wives and then maybe go buy some high heel Jordans.

I’m sure this is all LeBron’s fault.

*The best Spurs Championship DVD ever made. Among other things, it has the fourth quarters of each of the Spurs’ closeout games from the playoffs that year, including Steve Kerr’s three-point explosion against the Mavericks in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals and the regionally legendary 19-0 run that they had against the Nets to end Game 6 of the NBA Finals. FYI, that’s the same game when Tim Duncan fanuted on everybody, throwing up 21-20-10-8, less than two weeks after he offered up 36-20-6-7-3 in Game 1.

Comments (15)

  1. Yeah, it sucks. Because we’re going to have to watch a few more years of near-brilliant success from the Spurs, no lottery picks, no championships.

    But really when they’re gone, there’s going to be a huge part of Spurs fans that will miss watching these guys play. For reference, look at the Celtics at the end of the Bird era.

  2. The Pan Dulce joke is LoLcats to the max.

  3. Man, that Willie Anderson love reminds me of my nobody-cared Kendall Gill touting. Good stuff man.

  4. Trey Kirby turned into Shea Serrano?

  5. While the zings level of this piece were below the usual TBJ standards, I do see the point, however obscured. The hard part about being a Spurs fan is that what we saw this year could be the ceiling for the next ten years. The Spurs front office guys are so good at making a team competitive, that it’s unlikely that it will ever bottom out again to nab that top pick that, honestly, you NEED to compete. And while the team will be competitive, once an even old Duncan is out, it probably won’t be a true contender for a while. Throw in the fact that San Antonio isn’t exactly a top destination for free agents, and for a Spurs fan, the outlook can start to darken a bit. The irony is that to appreciate the Spurs again, Serrano actually does need to see them stink for a few years. The team probably needs the “journey” as much as he does.

  6. Take it from a Bulls fan, as much as you think you want that, no. No, you really don’t.

    • Exactly, trust me, the winning gets comfortable, but it NEVER gets old. At this point, its been a 14 year drought, this was the year the Bulls were going to get back to the finals, so please, don’t ever take it for granted!!!

      Basharat – 2014 bro, 2014

  7. I’m not doubting your sincerity, but you’re being a little ridiculous! It’s not like the Spurs are the Celtics of the 60s–your boys have won 4 championships in 13 years, there hasn’t be non-stop parades in San Antonio.
    Ask any Celtics fan if they’re glad their team took a 21-year break from winning and they’d look at you like you’re an alien. Milk it for all it’s worth.

  8. “I don’t remember too much of what happened immediately after Timmy’s godlike Game 6, but I do know that I’m glad police don’t investigate missing persons reports for hookers as adamantly as they maybe should.”

    That’s weak, dude. Making jokes whose premise is that sexual violence is a way to celebrate is a fundamentally shitty thing to do.

    It’s also just an easy and tired joke. Stop making it, please.

    • I bothered to sign in to say pretty much the same thing. I was really enjoying the article up until that point–at which point, I was depressed. I’m a Spurs fan. I don’t want to be depressed when I read about the Spurs.

      Could we maybe stop with the jokes about killing women? I put up with the endless TBJ mockery of “fat” people, the need to point out “ugly” women, the occasional gay panic remarks, because I get it. That’s part of the fun for you guys, even though I find it immature and somewhat cruel. And I like so much else of what you guys do that I can live with the stuff I don’t care for. But the whole “killed a hooker” thing . . . I can’t let that one go without saying something.

      • Hey Lauri, if you don’t like it, pick another website to read. No reason to change the hilarity of the blog just because you don’t like it.

  9. Why all the cursing? It just makes the writer look dumb. It doesn’t add anything to the article.

  10. Great stuff Trey, absolutely ridiculous, and brilliant.

  11. speaking as a spurs fan, i completely disagree. don’t know if that has anything to do with the fact that i’ve never set foot inside north america, let alone san antonio, but nevertheless, i cared way too much when the lost to the thunder this year.

  12. This article made me truely love being a Raptors fan. I’m very glad you posted this. Being through all the ups and downs, it just shows how era’s come and go and we’ve had some exciting era’s and this one has a ton of potential to be a long lasting one with Valanciunas and Bargnani

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