This is a day of celebration for those of us who appreciate Old School Basketball. Last night, the San Antonio Spurs finished off a complete dismantling of the two-time defending NBA Champion Miami Heat with another dominating win. And they did so playing a style of hoops that harkens back to the days when I could still run and jump.
No team in NBA history has been as under-appreciated for their greatness than the Spurs. Five titles since Tim Duncan joined the team--dating back to 1999--and yet no one ever uses the term "the Spurs dynasty". It's obviously not for lack of performance or success. The reason San Antonio gets no love from the pundits is because they play what is considered today to be "boring basketball". They pass a lot. Nobody really dunks. Tim Duncan is an endangered species--a big man who actually prefers to play with his back to the basket and score off of low-post moves rather than hang out at the three point line and jack jumpers.
It amazes me when the sports talking heads marvel at the Spurs ball-movement on offense--calling it a "thing of beauty". Well, until a certain #23 started playing basketball for the Chicago Bulls, that was the way nearly ALL teams at ALL levels of basketball played the game. Move the ball and yourself until you get a good look at an open shot. The Jordan and Post-Jordan era of hoops has been a slow decay of fundamentals--replaced with sheer athleticism and attacking the basket--or spot up jump shots from three-point-range.
And yet, once the Spurs finish their season, the appreciation for their game goes away. There are no Air Duncan shoes. There is no "Be Like Manu (Ginobili)" Gatorade campaign. There will not be an hour-long "Decision" made-for-tv spectacle when Tim Duncan announces if he will or won't retire this season. I'd be willing to bet that the number one topic on sports talk radio and TV will not be "how do the Spurs keep doing it?"--but rather "What does LeBron have to do to win another title?"
Well let them focus on the less-talented, more-flashy losers of this most recent Finals series. For those of us who prefer the game in its purest form, we will bask a little bit longer in the glow of another title for Old School Hoops--and hope that a new generation of young players might want to work on their passing, their ball-handling and their mid-range jumpers and post moves--rather than their trash talk.