This is a guest blog post from Craig Sager Jr. about his experience as a San Antonio Spurs fan. Thank you for sharing!
The 2014 NBA playoffs are a chapter in my life I’ll always remember. I was told my Dad had Leukemia two days before the action tipped off and I was in San Antonio interviewing Gregg Popovich that Saturday. Two months later, the postseason finally ended and it ended in the way I had envisioned since the Spurs’ heartbreaking loss to Miami in the Finals last year. A fifth championship.
I have been a Spurs fan for a while, but I was never born one or forced into it. I would go with my Dad to the conference finals every year and when TNT was assigned to cover the Western Conference, we would often get a match-up with the Spurs. Sometimes it would be my sister out there with me for a game, but most of the trips were just my father and me. He would be on the sidelines working and I was just a teenager sitting by myself in the stands sandwiched between thousands of fans, eyes glued to the action and nothing else. It would be just me and the game and there was no better way for me get a genuine experience of a game at the AT&T Center and what the Spurs were all about.
I know media is not supposed to cheer for teams and this is something I have never really had a problem with over the years. This postseason, I proudly wore my Spurs fan hood on my sleeve because I knew no matter how much I cheered for them it could never reciprocate the support the organization and fan base showed my Dad and family. I have never cried over a team and in terms of being a fan I have never been too emotionally attached. I do not scream profanities at my television or get in fights and I’ll still go out for a beer whether the team I was pulling for wins or loses.
Even at Georgia when I was on the football team, I saw it more as an experience to build me as a person than something I should stress. But something was always different about the Spurs. I am crazy about basketball and unlike any other team, when the Spurs are on the television I do not look away for a minute. I know what to expect when the Spurs are on. I cannot stand one-dimensional teams in any sport. A football team that can only pass the ball or a football team that can only run it. That will always lose my attention and the frustration drives me crazy.
The Spurs have so many ingredients to look for. Even when the bench is in the game, it is must-see action with Manu Ginobili and company checking in off the pine. It’s been a week since the Spurs clinched their championship and I think everyone is realizing what type of performance the Spurs put on as they remain captivated by the team. Even today, I still have friends and family talking about the Spurs all the way in Georgia. That has never happened before.
Popovich’s message to my father especially got my family on board for San Antonio’s ride to the Finals and my Dad felt like he was still involved with the action as coach Pop continued to reach out and contact the family throughout the postseason and in each of the four rounds. I will always play it fair and stay neutral in my game time coverage, but this was bigger than the game. This year’s championship from my perspective was just as much about what the Spurs did off the court than the greatness they exhibited on it.
Thank you San Antonio, congratulations and “GO SPURS GO”.
You can find Craig on Twitter @CraigSagerJr. Chat sports with him here: firstname.lastname@example.org@scoreatl.com