A gathering of over 250 fans waited outside of a local San Antonio Academy Sports + Outdoors store, nestled on the intersection of Bandera and 1604. Inside, Spurs reserve Jonathon Simmons sat at a makeshift table, a backdrop of the stores logo framing him in front of the line of eager die-hard Spurs fans.
As I wrote in my rehash last week, this is the convention of the Spurs super-fans, a gathering of disciples to the religion presided over by Popovich and followers. The eclectic group is fascinating; a man wears a mariachi hat with the San Antonio cityscape, the Tower of America peaks at the apex surrounded by an urban jungle of Bud Light bottles, Spurs player cut-outs, and Fiesta decor. Another fan circles the signing booth, screaming "go Spurs go" from all angles, like the surround sound of a George Lucas THX audio presentation. Children approach Jonathon Simmons, dressed in black-and-silver gear and urged forward by eager parents,.
Soft spoken, with rubber biblical quote bracelets encircling his wrists, Simmons smiles shyly to each. After an impressive showing at last summer's D-League in which he earned Finals MVP honors in Vegas and inked a deal with the Spurs, he's not used to this kind of attention.
When asked about the experience, he seems flabbergasted, using words like "speechless", "humbling", and "surprising" to describe the turnout.
After a brief media scrum, I chatted with Meredith Collier, Spurs Corporate Communications Coordinator, and she gestured toward a lady at the front of the line.
"That woman has apparently been waiting here since 11 last night."
I remark that it shouldn't be too bad of a wait, considering the plethora of tents available in a sporting goods store. It's a testament to the fan, sacrificing sleep and work to meet their favorite players.