Anyone who has read my stuff on Pounding the Rock knows that I became a Spurs fan, despite being in Los Angeles, in part because the Spurs players all seem to be generally regarded as “good guys.” In a Thanksgiving piece from a few years back, I talked about a chance encounter with former NBA great (player and coach) Rudy Tomjanovich at a golf driving range:
“Especially in light of everything going on in the sports world, I loved to hear Rudy T’s comments about the team we all root for. He used the words “good people”. Among all the things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, the list includes the ability to cheer on a Spurs team that is a group of good people. Not everyone can say that, but we can.”
Another thing I have written about over the years is my fondness for ex-Spur Danny Green. That fondness is shared by many of you, as our Official Survey of favorite ex-Spurs demonstrated: DG came out on top.
Those two points coalesced in my recent visit to Staples Center for a Fan All-Access event partially sponsored by my law firm. At these Fan All-Access events, you can go on the court to shoot baskets, visit the Lakers locker room, hobnob and get pictures taken with former Lakers players and, occasionally, an active player will also show up.
Danny Green was not on the program as an attendee for this year’s Fan All-Access event. I did not find this at all surprising — the event was this past Monday, immediately after the Lakers finished a back-to-back Saturday/Sunday road trip to Memphis and New Orleans, with a Tuesday home game against the 76ers to follow. Even without the road trip, with a long post-game flight the night before, veterans generally are not asked to appear at these events, only rookies and much more junior guys are. Finally, as I reported earlier, the LA Times reported that the Lakers had offered up DG in a trade to the Knicks for Marquis Morris two weeks earlier.
Knowing I would not get to see DG in person, I made sure to take a picture of his jersey while in the Lakers locker room.
I also had my picture taken with ex-Spur Robert Horry. I told Big Shot Rob that he was my favorite Lakers player when he was with the team, and then was my second favorite Spur when he was with the Spurs. Intrigued, he asked if Tim was my favorite, but he was OK with my actual choice — my man Manu Ginobili.
Later, I had my picture taken with James Worthy. As I stood next to him for the picture, he said to me, “Spurs guy, huh?” I was amazed that he remembered our encounter from last year’s All-Access event when I had talked to him about the Spurs, and he had commented that Gregg Popovich was a “righteous dude.” It turns out that he did not remember the encounter at all; he saw the Spurs logo on my cell phone cover while our picture was being taken. Funny moment.
But then a friend at the event texted me: “Danny Green photo.” It turns out that DG, despite all the reasons for him to not attend, had volunteered to sit around on his one night off with a bunch of fans who wanted to have their picture taken with him. Veteran guy, new to the organization, almost just traded, tired from the road trip. None of those possible excuses prevented him from volunteering his time when no one would expect him to do so. And fans like me got their picture taken with my favorite ex-Spur Danny Green.
One more thing. I went to the 76ers game the next night. Just before the tip-off, DG sprinted over to the 76ers bench to give head coach and former Spurs assistant Brett Brown a big hug. Even though he has moved on, Danny Green still personifies the Spurs’ culture of “good people.”