Whenever the Spurs are on the road, the camera will seek out Spurs fans within their opponents arena.
When the Spurs played their last game in Dallas this season, the Spurs telecast found a recognizable face in the crowd- Monte Montgomery. The Texas-based songwriter has lived in San Antonio and Austin, but now resides in the Dallas area.
If you have not been introduced to Monte, he’s an extremely talented musician who came up in San Antonio. In the 90s, you could catch him cutting his teeth at local venues that began packing with fans. His virtuoso guitar playing mixed with an impressive repertoire of cover songs made his shows a must-see live performance. But it is Monte’s unparalleled songwriting that has solidified his audience’s dedication.
[Full disclosure, I have been a fan since the mid-90s when I went every Sunday to see him at a little bar on Broadway called Niners. In recent years, I have had the distinct pleasure of being able to open for him here in San Antonio when he passes through. We talk Spurs and I have even caught a game with him.]
Monte first gained notoriety in 1999 playing on Austin City Limits. Guitar Player Magazine named him one of the “Top 50 All-Time Greatest Guitar Players” and he won the “Best Acoustic Guitar Player” Award at the Austin Chronicle’s Music Awards an impressive seven years in a row.
The Austin City Limits performance propelled him into a spotlight which led to national and international touring. It also put him on the radar of comedian Tim Allen, who introduced Monte to a whole new audience through the hit TV show “Last Man Standing.”
If you have seen “Last Man Standing,” then you have most assuredly heard Montgomery’s fretwork. He has been the composer for the entire run of the series, which airs its final episode tonight.
I had a chance to catch up with Monte regarding his long-standing fandom of the San Antonio Spurs.
What is your first Spurs game?
“It was Robinson’s rookie year. I wasn’t really a sports guy. But when Robinson came to town the hype was everywhere, so I became interested at that point. That was at the old HemisFair Arena.
When I walked into the arena, I was really taken by the energy in that building, the packed floor. I remember the game was against the Charlotte Hornets and Muggsy Bogues was going off. And I think Terry Cummings scored like 50. And I was hooked and it took off from there. When I was living in San Antonio, I would easily go to ten games a season.”
*On January 31, 1990, Terry Cummings scored 52 points against the Charlotte Hornets.
Did you have a particular favorite game or memory?
“One of them that sticks in my head is the Memorial Day Miracle. I was sitting in the cheap seats, and I even took a tiny set of binoculars. When Sean Elliott took that shot, he was facing me, and I could see the spin on the ball. I have that memory of that ball going in, it was a crazy thing, and it is obviously Spurs lore.”
Tim Duncan was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Do you have a favorite Duncan memory?
“There are so many memories. Not really one stands out, You know, he was just so consistent. It’s hard to pick out one game that was great or so special because he did that every night.”
Do you have a favorite player currently?
“On the current squad? I really like so many of these players. I love how clutch DeRozan is, his veteran leadership is important to the development of the young players. It takes time in the league. I’m really excited to watch the development. So there isn’t one specific player. I love watching Murray, his jump shot is beautiful. And Vassell, he’s so good he seems like he’s been in the league for a while. He’s amazing.”
How about a favorite underrated player over the last few years?
“You know one guy I think about sometimes is Jonathon Simmons. I tend to think about the guys who didn’t stick around for long. So many Spurs have come and gone, and then you see them on another team and you think, ‘wow, that guy’s pretty good,’”
What’s your take on Pop? You think he’ll stick around a few more years?
“I’m very happy he’s still around. He even said ‘when Duncan goes, I’ll go’ so I’m glad he’s around to coach this new squad, because I can’t see anyone else doing it. And he does such a great job.”
DeMar, Rudy Gay, and Patty Mills are all up in free agency. If you get a call from the front office, what do you do with these guys?
“[DeMar] is just Mr. Clutch, I’d hate to lose him right now. I don’t want any of them to leave, but I think of the three, I’d be more apt to let Rudy go, but I’d keep DeMar and Patty if at all possible. I can see Patty working out a deal that would be beneficial for the team. I mean, he’s a Spur in every sense. In the community what he does for his organizations — here and in Australia.”
So, shifting to “Last Man Standing,” how did that alter your career?
“Tim Allen called me and offered me the opportunity to do shows. He called me after the Austin City Limits thing and we’d been friends a long time. This was the first time he’d been able to offer a project like this. I hesitated because I had never done anything like it. I composed music for the theme song and the first show and eventually the producers got together and I was the only one they could agree on.”
Monte is looking forward to his next project, whether that takes him back on the road or into a new venture as a composer. One thing for certain, he’ll be rooting on the Spurs no matter where he calls home.
The series finale of “Last Man Standing” airs tonight on Fox at 8:00 CST.
You can check out Monte’s website here, and you must check out the live performance from Austin City Limits.
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