[Editor's Note: While it's obvious that the recent Grantland piece has struck a chord, I haven't taken the time to respond to it. But Aaron McGuire at Gothic Ginobili has, and below is the most interesting take yet posted on this site. -jrw ]
Bill Simmons's article regarding championships he deems unworthy or marginalized got me to thinking. Simmons also needs an asterisk by his name indicating that while he can be an entertaining writer, he is not all that intelligent.
If you're a fan of basketball then you are a fan of Spurs. If you choose to diminish the accomplishments of the Spurs by snark and revisionist history, then you become not a fan of basketball but a fan of celebrity and geographical location. Simmons has shown us that not only can he not appreciate a team-oriented (ahem) team, but he chooses to bash a small market club ad nauseam. On his most recent piece about tainted championships, all four of the Spurs championships were tagged with a half-hearted addendum, stating that really this shouldn't have been how it went down.
This new view on history is troubling. If the allied forces sat around on D-Day thinking about what an unfair advantage they had at Omaha Beach, just because the Germans just weren't really that prepared that day and we set up a beachhead port without their pre-knowledge and they were like, "Oh no my sausages?" we would have lost and we'd be speaking German and trying to dye my hair blonde. You can't feel sorry for an advantage: not in war, not in any competitive field, and certainly not in this hellacious act of attrition that has been the NBA regular season these past few decades.
Yet Simmons shoots his
asterisks footnotes* all over the league's history, stating that even today, no matter what happens post-Derrick Rose injury, this season is tainted.
This line of thinking is misleading and could end our world with its terribleness, much like forced ingestion of cottage cheeses. With this historical philosophy there is no end in sight. (And this is no slippery slope argument, even though I'm actually writing this on a rain-drenched embankment.) With this same philosophy we could say that every championship since Sam Bowie's career ending injuries would be varnished and unacceptable; or everything after Reggie Lewis's death; or everything after my decision to skip the NBA and go to community college and study things that have never helped me in any way.
Well I got news for the Asterisk, I shouldn't be an overweight underpaid social worker trying to work extra to buy some extra baby formula and keep my family together while my mortgage is one month behind and my truck's AC starts blowing hot air right before a central Texas summer -- but that's who I am. I shouldn't be able to have such amazing dance moves -- but that's who I am. These decisions made me, circumstances beyond my control made me -- but that's who I am. I'm talking Ser verb here, not estar. The Spurs cannot change their essence.
You can't have that, Billy. You can't take it away from us. Thank you. (Queue motivational music here, preferably something from the Hagar Van Halen Years about jumping or doing the right thing right now and drinking crystal Pepsi.)
* As far as I'm concerned, using footnote is just a more pleasant way to say asterisk.