From the desk (virtual) of Jeffrey Grant Hunt
Greetings Spurs Nation! This is (or was) my first piece for Pounding the Rock, whose Editor recently gave me a desk to try and contribute my own particular brand of nonsense towards all things Spurs. I’ve not met J.R. Wilco yet in person, and perhaps hope not to, as I prefer at this time to picture him as a cigar-chomping type, and the surlier the better! Perhaps like Gregg Popovich berating me for lapses in concentration and missed deadlines.
I’ll start small here: The fate of the Universe rides on this season. Everything in life can be distilled down to eternal truths, ethics, and values, and the Spurs and NBA basketball are no different. Does that make you nervous? Well, great news, the Spurs are already pleasing the Gods with their hot start, and soon everyone will be copying their recipe for success: hire a senior citizen to coach! Trade your All-Stars! Gamble on late picks in the draft! Hire teenagers! Encourage injuries!
Oh yes, the fate of basketball and all it stands for are at stake this season. Make no mistake because this is, once again, the Beginning of Time. The Beginning of Time happens every season, with every tip-off, with every quarter, and every game. Between those points we suffer under our self-imposed images of ourselves from other blocks of time, other games, other seasons. With the Spurs, there is glorious history to reflect back on, and pride and all things that go with it. But then, when the good times end, we suspect that fate’s cruel Wheel of Fortune is now going to crush them like they’re the 2011 Charlotte Bobcats. Lord, we think, we knew this day would come! They’re going to be the Bobcats and the Washington Generals combined!
Not so fast Lottery-lovers! Believe it or not, this is the season I have been waiting for. “Waiting,” for me as a Spurs fan, can be illustrated across time in three eras. It started in the Earlier Spurs period, where a little excavation will show me in their locker room with my Dad, a ball signed by the Iceman, and such high-level athletes as Billy Paultz. (In the 70’s I think you could almost just go into the locker room if you had the nerve, much like you used to be able to just walk onto a plane). And I personally wonder, looking back, how the fates could have put me in such proximity to my home team? Because I tell you truly it’s not just a geographical love. But that early era went on forever in terms of ultimate success, an endless championship desert. Then the long Middle Era began. The Big Three. Championships. We all know it, but what really happened in the Middle Era though? I like to think that, to put it simply, the Spurs preserved the game of basketball.
But now? Well, let me explain it to you like this. I often think at the dinner table when conversation turns to fixing the world’s problems, that if you can’t dream with the people you’re eating dinner with, who can you dream with? And I tell myself this season, again at the Beginning of Time, that it’s OK to dream, and in this article to dream with others. If I can’t dream with you people, well, I certainly will be lonely dreaming with Lakers fans!
That’s where we Spurs fans are at this moment, the Dream Era. Dreaming about the season where basketball is saved by a team with an actual coach in charge, not someone nervously handling personalities and egos ready to mutiny on social media, where a mix of young scrubs we have barely heard of and journeymen veterans play great team basketball and shock the world! Some dream the Spurs hit the Lottery, but not me. They’ve already done that.
Instead, what I’ve been waiting for is for the Spurs to once again save basketball, but this time, one last time, without the high-profile all-stars, without free agency or money-ball, without lottery picks. If anyone can do it, I know it’s the Spurs.
As I write this article, the Spurs prepare for another game. Our blood will rise across Spurs nation, as it does the other teams fans. Popovich will steer, as he should. The young players will keep finding their way. And we will dream as the jump ball goes up and we are all, once again, at the beginning of time.