FanPost

On tall-poppy syndrome

Much has been said about the Spurs' recent success, and even if the sports media have caught on, they are still far from media darlings.

One of the reasons pointed to is their presence in a small market. While this is a fact, it doesn't quite hold - the Thunder are one of the favored teams and they play in an even smaller market.

Perhaps a more legitimate criticism would be that the Spurs' system, while an oft-emulated model of success, is anathema to the NBA's individualistic, superstar-driven marketing. Its Big Three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili are not dropping 30 points a game - yet they lead their team to the best record in the league and its best offense with regards to points per possession. Their biggest strength is their bench; their second unit of Gary Neal, Ginobili, Stephen Jackson, Matt Bonner, and Tiago Splitter was instrumental in Game 4 against the Jazz.

Perhaps the Spurs' frequent employment of foreign players - all of their Big 3 were born outside the continental US - is a source of unspoken controversy. This frequent use of foreign players results in the more streamlined, more fundamental style of the Spurs as opposed to the highlight driven style of Hero Ball that the more popular teams in the league are using.

And so tall-poppy syndrome strikes. The sports media likes to use the old label on the Spurs; teams that ARE older like the Mavericks are called "experienced". But the Spurs do not care. For them, dunks and alley-oops are worth as much a penetrating layup or a surgical floater. Their efficient offense and solid defense challenge all comers in their bid for a fifth championship. That is all they want.

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