It was a cold and rainy night at the San Diego Sports Arena back in March of 1983. I just watched my team, the San Antonio Spurs, handily defeat the San Diego Clippers by a ten-point margin with 4,000 people in attendance. I had a front-row seat where I paid the costly sum of $8.00 to sit next to my favorites. Gene Banks, Mike Mitchell, Artis Gilmore and of course the Iceman, George Gervin.
I waited after the game to get some autographs on my pennant I bought for a few bucks and got signatures from Gervin, Mitchell and Banks. Artis was not interested in signing but I guess he was tired and boarded the bus. Only a few of us were there to see them off as they rode off on that rainy night. A few months later, I was miffed when I had to pay the monstrous sum of $40 to see the team play the Lakers in Game 5 of the 1983 Western Conference Finals.
I have watched the Spurs since their ABA days and watched the old games with Steve Grad and Terry Stembridge doing calls from the old Hemisfair Arena. The fun was there as people poured into the smoke-filled barn on Market Street drinking the nickel beers and eating the 40-cent hot dogs. The titles did not come and the team was almost sold and moved out of town by the end of the 1980s. Then as Providence would have it, the Spurs won the lottery and selected David Robinson back in 1987.
The team has been great for over 25 years with five NBA titles to their name and the fame they had generated was well-deserved. However, as with most things in this day and age, the specter of politics started to creep into the game and now we are subjected to social action and politics in every area of our lives. No longer are we to have a game to watch that takes our mind off the cares of the everyday world for a few hours. We are now shown constant reminders of governmental interference in our lives. Prayers are nowhere to be found; huge flags are displayed and social statements that seem to come from Rousseau are dumped on the fans in all the leagues.
Of course the “man of the hour” is Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. A graduate of the Air Force Academy with a degree in Soviet Studies, it seems that the coach while brilliant in the X’s and O’s department is totally in the Trotskyist camp when it comes to political thought. He is free to state what he wants but his double standards are as plain as day. Never mind that he said nothing when Bush invaded Iraq and Obama’s NSA spied on the public. Now with Trump in office, he convulses in mortal fear of Donald Trump and calls him a soulless coward. He condemns Trump for creating a spirit of division. I wonder if he has talked to his Center Pau Gasol about the Catalonia crisis. I guess division is OK for Barcelona but not for Baltimore.
It is clear now that the NBA as with other leagues are fully into the realm of politics. The NBA moved the All-Star game from Charlotte last year due to the passage of the bathroom bill. The innocence of sports in my youth is long gone. I still remember the smoke-filled arena where the Spurs defeated Dr. J’s 76ers back in 1985, the tape-delayed games on CBS and the cheap promotions. I think that now with seats going for $400 plus a game, expensive parking and fans being lectured to by the elites on how we are barbarians that need to embrace diversity that I think I need to walk away from the Spurs, teams of other leagues and their well paid social justice warriors. See ya!!!