I was going to write something this morning about how much I enjoyed watching the San Antonio Spurs play basketball in the NBA Finals on their way to beating the Miami Heat, four games to one, but then I read Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN’s True Hoop.
He put it much better than I could.
But very, very few institutions actually function like the Spurs because it’s insanely hard to get dozens of people to buy in to the same vision. Those that do, such as the Spurs, are the true, honest-to-goodness nonconformists. All that well-timed stuff they run and the fundamentals and pounding the rock and never getting too high or too low and coming back unfazed after losing a lead 5.2 seconds from a banner and reclamation projects such as Boris Diaw and rodeo road trips that build character and Pop’s wizardry and knowing which mid-first-round pick would grow into the Wing-You-Need-In-Today’s-NBA and last-possession plays that actually resemble real basketball sets and almost never making bonehead personnel decisions and generally treating everyone in the office like an adult and having incredible command of the NBA’s bargain bin — none of that is normal.
That combination the Spurs have achieved is what most of us want out of professional life. We want to do something we love. We want the freedom to experiment and to know that if we’re true to the process, we won’t be deemed a failure, regardless of the result. We want to work alongside people who root for us to be really good. We want to know that if we have to wind the clock 12 full months after being so very, very close, everyone will exhale, regroup and stay with it.
The older I get, the less I root for teams and the more I root for a good game, or watching a sport played well. San Antonio granted that wish and then some.
Photo of Spurs’ celebration by Tony Gutierrez/AP.