It’s hard to believe that in a culture where winning is everything, there is a team out there consistently looked over, who has won more than anyone in recent memory.
The San Antonio Spurs are one of the best franchises in pro sports.
Since 1999, the Spurs have won five championships and won 50 or more regular season games in each season. They are the truest model of consistently that we have, not only in the NBA, but in all of sports, along with the New England Patriots.
The difference between the Patriots and the Spurs is that while the Patriots are always looked at as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl every year, the Spurs are rarely considered to be the favorite to win the NBA Title.
In 1996, Greg Popovich took over the Spurs as head coach and in 1997, the Spurs hit the jackpot in drafting Tim Duncan first overall. These two moves would change the fortunes of a franchise who had been struggling, and make them the ultimate contender for years to come.
In 1999, the Spurs, with the Twin Towers that featured Duncan and Hall-of-Famer David Robinson, won the NBA Title coming off a 37 win season due to the lockout in which they took the top seed.
Since then, the Spurs have compiled a 979-371 record and added four more titles in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014.
So the true question is how could they be underdogs and have the best record of all NBA teams since 1999?
While sports is certainly all about winning, it is also about the box office effect.
This effect has hurt and helped the sports landscape where major networks will tend to showcase and follow the teams with the most interesting and sellable story lines in order to get better ratings and provide better entertainment.
We have seen this a lot throughout the years, especially in the NBA.
When the Heat formed their Big 3 in 2010-2011, they automatically became the most watched team that season with 25 nationally televised regular season games across TNT, ESPN, ESPN 2, and ABC. This is not including the playoffs, where every game was nationally televised and they made it all the way to the Finals.
This season alone, the Golden State Warriors will be on National TV 28 times, which is less than last year where their games were Televised over 30 times due to the buzz behind their record breaking season.
This is where the box office effect comes into play because in these respective seasons, the Spurs were featured on National TV 18 times and 23 times this year. Although this is a good number, it’s low in comparison to their record over that time span.
The Spurs provide a fundamental brand of basketball where the ball constantly moves, plays are executed, great defense is played and there are few spectacular highlights given throughout the game. To the average fan, this is noted as “boring” because the common person would much rather watch Steph Curry shoot threes from 30 feet out, or Kyrie lead the fastbreak and throw an alley-oop off of the backboard for LeBron James every night. To the real fan, watching the Spurs gives us a moment to collect ourselves and watch real basketball for 2 and one-half hours where the excitement comes from how fluid they look together and how the fundamentals of the game can still play a superior role.
The Spurs’ all-time consistency is taken for granted every year because everything is about ratings and what’s exciting rather than what may be truly good.
They are overlooked every season as true favorites to win the title and despite winning almost 1,000 games the past 16 seasons, they are the prohibited underdog of the NBA.
Do you think the Spurs should garner more respect? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3