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Imagining an NBA without the San Antonio Spurs

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What if the Dallas Chaparrals had never relocated to San Antonio?

NBA: Utah Jazz at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

For a moment imagine that the Dallas Chaparrals had never made the trip down I-35 to the Alamo City. Perhaps they would have floundered around the ABA a few more seasons until the NBA incorporated the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New Jersey Nets, and Virginia Squires.

It’s quite possible San Antonio would not have gotten a major franchise in any sport.

Who would San Antonians root for?

I was thinking the other night as the Spurs faced the Philadelphia 76ers that I actually like a lot of players from Philly. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are interesting, young athletes just right for a fan’s heart to latch onto. I like their coach. Forgetting for a second that my awareness of Brett Brown stems from his time under Gregg Popovich, I still like him. The Process has been tough to watch and at times appeared pointless, but the results have been impressive, even more so considering all the changes that went into the trade deadline.

As far as a city, a location, I visited Philadelphia a few years back with my wife. The lay out is great and there is obviously a rich community steeped in American history. At the time of year we went, we enjoyed a Phillies game. Granted, they had just won the World Series, but the crowds and energy were great.

I’m not a football guy, but the Philadelphia Eagles won an exciting Super Bowl a season back.

And if I go back to basketball, I was a Dr. J fanatic as a kid. Not having my own team might have kept my attention on Irving’s team.

If the Spurs had never evolved. If Red McComb had not made that fateful purchase. If Military City, U.S.A. had no basketball team, I might have been a 76ers fan.

Who would be your team? Does another NBA city appeal to you as a distant runner-up? Would you still root for a smaller market team? Or would you have hitched your cart to one of the big city teams with shimmer and shine?

[Note: I wrote the original draft of this piece before the trade deadline. I am even more impressed with all that the Sixers have going on, although I think watching a team blow it up mid-season takes away a little bit. Can’t help it, it’s the Spurs fan in me.]


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