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What We Learned from the Spurs loss to the Warriors

The past and present share an evening in the Alamodome

NBA: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

I wanted to hate this. Ever since I saw the game in the Dome get announced, every single cynical alarm in my body had been buzzing like crazy. It was almost offensive. A blatant, loud, shiny distraction designed to draw our attention away from the very bad basketball being played by the San Antonio Spurs. The entire organization was trying to get us to focus on the glory of the past so we might conveniently forget about the woes of the present. As it turns out, I was right about all of it except for one tiny detail.

I didn’t hate it.

I wanted to, believe me, I wanted to, but I just couldn’t help but get swept up in it. The thing is, this was a blatant distraction, and it was designed to have us remember the past. What made it work is that the Spurs never really tried to pretend otherwise. They know the state of the team right now. They know there isn’t a lot of fun on the horizon this season and they decided to do something about it. They looked around and thought, “what if, instead of a funeral, we threw a party?”

They decided to celebrate. They decided not to mope around and wallow. They saw that they probably had one of the worst teams in the league on their hands and decided they were going to go ahead and set the single game attendance record anyway. Why not? How many other NBA teams have the ability to bet on their community like that? It’s pretty few and far between. This was a night designed to show that community off. To blow off some steam. To remember that we were great back then, we’re great now, and we’re going to be great again.

Like a lot of people, the first time I went to a Spurs game was in the Alamodome. I went with my dad and watched them play the Minnesota Timberwolves. I got a cheeseburger and a coke from Whataburger. I got a stuffed Spurs Coyote. I sat in my seat and stared around at the biggest room I had ever seen in my life. I marveled at the colors and the sound and the people. I heard Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll” for the first time and felt like my heart had been attached to a live wire. It was one of the most formative experiences of my life. I have no idea who won.

Last night took me back there. I think it did the same for a lot of people. The game happening on the court was beside the point. The camera kept panning around the crowd it was just full of people with smiles on their face. They were with their friends and their families. They were remembering how fun the old court looked and how crazy that big blue curtain they used to divide up the stadium was. They were remembering that time the firehoses went off and ruined everyone’s night. They were probably lying to their friends about how they were there for the Memorial Day Miracle. It was fun. It was a 31-point loss and, frankly, it could’ve been a 50-point loss and it wouldn’t have mattered.

It was fun.

We’ve spent a lot of time these last few seasons coming to grips with the bigger picture. We’ve had to reckon with what it means to be a fan of the Spurs when they aren’t a regular title contender. This is a time for remembering what’s important and last night felt like a crucial part of that process. It was a night where we all got to relish being a part of this team’s community and culture. We got to remember how fun this all is. It’s a game! It’s got crazy pageantry and bright colors and loud music. A giant Coyote with insane eyes rides a motorcycle out during the timeouts! Who could be sad about the score at a time like this? “Let’s Get Loud” is playing!

This night was everything I thought it was going to be. It was an unabashed nostalgia play designed to draw my attention away from losing record of my favorite team. I didn’t realize how much I needed it.


  • I love the audacity of setting the single game attendance record like this. Who else can even do this and why would they even try? Someone would have to play a game in a football stadium, right? Like, are the Mavs going to play a game in JerryWorld? Cool. How fun for them that they get to relish all those memories out there in Arlington. This feels like a very fun piece of basketball history that the Spurs get to own for a while, and it feels truly unique to the franchise. I can’t get over how cool it is that they pulled this off and, on top of that, actually found a way to win me over in the process. Just a wild turn of events
  • They only slight quibble I had with the night is that I wish they had done the court up like the old Alamodome court. Get the real retro logo out there instead of the new retro one. I also wish they would’ve had us in our home whites instead of the Fiesta Jerseys. I get why they wore the Fiesta jerseys, but I just think it would’ve been nice to look like the actual Spurs for a night. The main reason the Fiesta colors on the court were fun in the first place was how wild the contrast was between the Silver & Black with the Teal and Pink. It felt uniquely San Antonio for some reason. I would’ve liked to see that again.
  • I feel like I remember the Warriors being bad earlier this season and then Steph got hurt and I maybe stopped paying attention to them for a while. It, uh, sure seems like they have the firepower of a fully armed and operational battle station.
  • We can talk about how the Spurs actually played another day. For now, let’s just watch Keldon Dunk a fore a while.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- What would be the coolest way to break the single game attendance record next?

- I’m glad you asked. I think playing inside a big football stadium would be lame and everyone knows it. The ONLY option for me is to do it outside like a music festival. I know playing basketball outdoors is risky or whatever and theres wind and blah, blah, blah, but like, they played a college game on a freakin’ aircraft carrier and it was fine. They play hockey games outside all the time and it’s fine. Let’s hoop outdoors! Let’s find some natural amphitheater out in the world and let people what a game under the stars.

- I can think of 1 million reasons why that would be a bad idea.

- And I can think of 1 million reasons why people like you will never change the world. Jazz vs Lakers in Zion National Park. Knicks vs Nets at Woodstock. Pistons vs Bulls on Lake Michigan SURROUNDED BY BOATS!!

- These are terrible ideas.

- These are the best ones i’ve ever had.