He is still the man.
I can't sleep. It's 12:55AM from where I am from and clearly I haven't recovered from that heartbreaking loss.
I am just devastated. I thought this year was our year, like every other season. Seeing our Spurs go out like that does them no justice. Those guys worked their butts off every single day and yet they still fall short of what they truly deserve. Tim, Pop, Tony and Manu did not deserve to lose that way. I suffer with them. I hurt with the Spurs. My heart just breaks seeing how close they were to winning it all and how it all slipped away. I can't get over it. I just can't. Not for the foreseeable future I suppose.
I grew up loving the beautiful game of basketball and I have been a student of the game since I was 7 years old. I didn't grow up idolizing Michael Jordan, I idolized his sidekick, Scottie Pippen instead. Why? Pippen was a terrific all-around player that does what is asked from him and more. He didn't ask to be in the spotlight like most players did and most importantly, he was a no-nonsense type of player. I followed Pippen to whichever team he went. During the 2003 Western Conference playoffs, I was extremely disappointed when the Trailblazers were eliminated. I was so sad that they couldn't win old man Scottie another ring before he rode off into the sunset. But then, I came across the Steve Kerr game which was showing in another channel.
And in that moment, I instantly fell in love with the Spurs. (Especially that rookie from Argentina)
Spurs fans are rare where I am from. Most people are bandwagon fans who change teams so that they can fit in or because it is the in thing at that moment. Most people found the Spurs boring, but I didn't. The way they executed and ran their plays, it was just beautiful basketball. The Spurs are a very unique team, and in a way, made me feel unique too as a fan. Watching all of those games and going through a rollercoaster ride of emotions, I really felt at home when I watched them play. They didn't play with flash not because they didn't want to, it was because they didn't need to. They didn't blow up the team's core when people said they were old and started to write them off because they believed in their system and believed in their roster.
As a player myself, I tried to pattern my game after the great Manu Ginobili. I am left-handed as well, and I would constantly try to imitate his moves such as the eurostep (my go-to move) and his fearlessness to put his body on the line. (Hence, I was given the nickname Manu by my teammates)
I recently graduated high school. I graduated with a loss in the championship game to a superior, import-laden school. Our roster consisted of homegrown players, no recruits and no transferees because that is how we do things. We were happy just to be in the finals, having knocked out another top team in the semi-finals with all the odds against us. This is why I feel a special bond with the Spurs, because I know how they feel. They were counted out multiple times but they just never gave up, they just kept going. We were the underdogs, and so were the Spurs in the series. When we lost that game, I could not stop crying, knowing I was so close to the championship and knowing we deserved it more than that stupid team full of recruits. The Spurs deserved that title because they built their dynasty instead of buying it because they are the Spurs and that is how they operate.
Maybe this is why I love the Spurs and why I refuse to count them out. All the haters will continue to write them off, but they will always prove them wrong. Manu will be Manu. We live with Manu, we die with Manu. That's just the way it is. Tony was hurt, but did he give up? He kept trying to play even though his body couldn't. Kawhi, just wow. I have nothing but superlatives for this kid. He makes me believe. He'll be a star one day even if he doesn't command all the attention. Tim, nothing but respect. You could see it in his eyes that he wanted it so badly. Of all the people, I am most saddened for him. That consistency and will is just amazing. And Pop, I know he'll be blamed for most fans for his "blunder" in game 6 but imagine if we pulled that game off? Pop would look like a genius! It was a risk he took and unfortunately, it just didn't work out. But hey, Pop is one of the best coaches in the game today but he's only human, he's also prone to mistakes. No one is to blame for this loss. No one.
Despite trying times like these though, I am absolutely proud of this team! I will love them no matter what happens! The Spurs are full of class and pride. This will be a painful pill to swallow but hey, that's life! As a die-hard fan I must admit, it won't be easy but we just gotta stay positive and hope they have another run next season! I'm pretty sure they will be back too. Maybe it truly isn't our year. But there is always next year and if there is one thing we've learned from these Spurs is that they will come back stronger and better than ever and they will keep fighting until there's nothing left to give.
Let's see what happens in the offseason. See you next season guys! GO SPURS GO!
It's 1:58AM now and I will try to sleep this off once again.
A picture worth a thousand words