With the San Antonio Spurs ready to face the defending champion Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals, it's time for the trope that just never gets old: America hates the Spurs.
Everyone's favorite contrarian analyst (troll?), ESPN's Skip Bayless, admitted in his recent column that even ESPN's First Take producers are weary of referencing San Antonio because, well, they decimate ratings just as much as they decimate opposing defenses.
"Heck, over the years, I've even had "First Take" producers discourage me from talking about the Spurs on air because they're such ratings killers."
The Spurs are truly an anomaly. When was the last time a great franchise was considered boring? When was the last time a national audience shunned a transcendent superstar? Before Tim Duncan, R.C. Buford and Gregg Popovich progressively offered new ways to operate a successful organization, which includes a no-nonsense policy with the media, fans gravitated towards teams that were always good. That's because fans like winning — it's easier to appreciate — and because these teams often had several identifiable superstars. The Spurs have both going in their favor.
But they don't want the adoration. It's unnecessary. Irrelevant. Extraneous. Popovich concocted a proven winning formula and that formula doesn't include TV ratings.
What kind of person doesn't want to be appreciated for their accomplishments? It's almost human nature. Not Pop or Duncan, though. They detest self-promotion almost as much as losing itself. They are a rarity in professional sports because they are secure in the system, in the team and in themselves. They don't need the media to tell them they are doing a good job. Because they already believe in their process.
The results speak for themselves.