After winning the NBA Championship, as Kawhi Leonard and Gregg Popovich embraced, Kawhi thanked Pop for pushing him. And Pop told him that "This is what it's all about."
In 1895, Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem titled "If" as a tribute to Leander Starr Jameson, in the form of paternal advice to his son. Two months ago, PtR member mnickolsongray, took Kipling's great work and re-imagined it for Spurs fans.
Thanks to both of those great ideas, we have this to enjoy today.
If you can pound the rock with dogged determination
and display great patience through the final strike
If you can trust yourself when all media doubt you,
but make allowance for their doubting, too
If you can focus on team over individual,
in this star-first, selfish world
If you can meet Winning and Losing,
and treat both outcomes with class
If you can keep your head about you,
as foes succumb to internal discord
If you can be a champion's champion,
but maintain your virtue and humility
If you can fill the unforgiving postseason
with 16 victories of distance run
Yours is Greatness and all that it means,
and what is more, you'll be a Spur, my son!
UPDATE: And then, out of the blue, sometime contributor Rand (he of the legendary Villains of the NBA post and last year's Skyfall Effect) -- who had been working on his own version without ever having seen the above -- dropped the following into the comments. And I just had to immortalize it as well.
If you can build your squad when all the others
Are chasing superstars to buy the dream;
If you can trust your system and your brothers,
And seek your glory only as a team;
If you can hustle back after a basket,
Take open shots, or drive and finish strong,
And never tell, however oft' they ask it:
"How are you still so good, after so long?"
If you can draft-and-stash, and grow your rookies,
And still win fifty-plus games every season;
If you get Boris to put down the cookies;
If Bonner's on the roster for some reason;
If you don't mind the ESPN circus
Still fixating upon their fallen star,
And say "The lack of coverage doesn't irk us;
We've demonstrated who the Big Three are."
If you can dominate a generation,
But still be underrated every year,
And build the finest record in the nation,
Then kick your game into a higher gear;
If you can fall just short at the last second,
Recover from the wound, but feel the scar,
And murmur to the championship that beckoned:
"N'est-ce pas adieu - c'est seulement au revoir!"
If you can hang a banner from your rafter,
If you can slip a ring onto your thumb,
And be the same sportsman before and after,
Still focused on the challenges to come;
Whether a veteran or a beginner,
If you can pound the rock, persist, endure,
You'll be a man, a champion, a winner -
And which is more, my son, you'll be a Spur.