Some kids over at a Spurs message board seem confounded as to why the hoops world save San Antonio, France, Argentina and the U.S. Virgin Islands hate the Spurs.
Here's a primer:
- They are so damn boring. This has been covered at great lengths by others, so I'm not going to dig in too much. But seriously: The head coach is a wannabe sommelier, the star was a competitive swimmer in high school, the point guard is French. This is the NBA, right?
- Bruce Bowen. Come on, even Spurs fans can't honestly like this guy. Be serious now.
- The Spurs are a team of incessant whiners. They never quit. They were up by damn near 40 POINTS in the first half Saturday and they were bitching and whining about calls. For instance, Manu Ginobili went to the floor and took out a dribbling Mike Bibby's legs in the process. Manu, obviously got called for the foul. He, Bruce Bowen and Gregg Popovich complained for the next 30 seconds about it. And you know what? The refs just let it go. If Artest or Bonzi Wells or anyone else in the league save Kobe or Phil Jackson, or maybe even Pat Riley, did that? Technical. It's garbage. People complain about Kenny Thomas and Brad Miller arguing calls, but they don't even approach the Spurs in that category.
- Only one Spur wears a headband. ONE. It is 2-0-0-6 and no one but Nick Van Exel is accessorizing? (Unless you count Fabricio Oberto's scrunchie and berrets.) BORING. And insulting to the stylish birthright of the NBA. As our champion, you must represent the league. And you are failing, Spurs.
- A truly drab live crowd. I hate generalizing, and some people I'd call good friends root for the Spurs, but damn. That arena is dead. It's nice; hell, it's gorgeous. But it's dead. And that sucks, considering the heart and soul loser squads like the Warriors get out their legions. It's almost like the San Antonio fanbase doesn't deserve all these rings. (Again, I hate to generalize. But a trend is a trend.) At least Detroit has that hopped-up meth addict PA guy.
- Finally, Balki. Actually, I can't put my finger on one thing. Sometimes, I think it's a perfect storm of sorts. By all indications, Balki is a great guy - he's beloved by Argentina's children, he used to come off the bench despite being a borderline All-Star, he's a great ambassador of the game for Latin America. These aren't things to take lightly. He doesn't have an annoying belle like Parker, or an annoying rap habit either. He hasn't made an annoying high number of shots against the Kings, like Van Exel, or a number of highly annoying shots against the Kings, like Robert Horry. He's not entirely dissimilar to a mish-mash of players the Kings once called their beloved - Hedo's versatility, Peja's selflessness, Vlade's good heart and better theatrics. In fact, he'd probably fit right in with the Kings, and he'd be one of our favorite players.
But he's not. He's a fricking Spur. So he annoys us, just as he would if he were a Laker. The things we would enjoy - his reckless driving, his foul-drawing, his energy - we hate. That's how sports work. Fans are completely individualistic like that - why else would SF Giants fans like myself root for Barry Bonds every night? Good lord, if the guy was a Padre or Atheltic or, god forbid, a Dodger, we would have pushed dude off the pier. But he's a Giant, so we love him. It doesn't have to make sense. It's sports.
So understand that we do hate Balki, very much. But it's not because of any one little thing - it's a culmination of sorts. The biggest factor? He's an opponent. We all hate our opponents. If you don't, either you have good meds or you don't care enough. (The second and third biggest factors, by the way, are his hair and his nose, respectively.)