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.