by Manuel Solis
Growing up in San Antonio during the 90’s on a steady diet of MTV, BET and WGN, one of the highlights over a string of summers was watching Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls gather in Grant Park to celebrate championship upon championship with a few of their closest friends. After finally getting past the bad-boy Pistons, these celebrations felt somewhat cathartic for Bulls fans and behind Jordan’s bravado and cigar clouds, a regal yet playful aura emerged. It was always fun to guess how the Bulls would show out on stage and see which melanin-challenged player would be trotted out to offer his rendition of the white boy shuffle, to the delight of the masses.
Not to be outdone, the Spurs have had some special moments of their own celebrating these five championships over the past fifteen years. There was Steve Kerr showing off his bling to Stephen Jackson in 2003, Tony Parker’s impromptu freestyle in 2005 that kicked off his ill-fated rap career, and anytime Manu Ginobili addressed the crowds in his native tongue. Let’s never forget Coach Pop showcasing some spastic dance moves on a River Walk barge way back in 1999, which now lives forever on the internet.
Going into the celebration, much of the national hoops media has returned to their default setting where the sun rises and sets in Miami, Florida. But for Spurs fans, the real question is will Tim Duncan opt in and return for at least another season. If Duncan commits, won’t Popovich and Ginobili follow suit?
One of the great things about covering the Spurs throughout this quiet dynasty has been Manu. Off the court, he is the most affable NBA superstar you will ever meet. Whether visiting sick children in the hospital or taking extra time to answer questions after even the most grueling defeat, Ginobili rarely falters. On the court, Manu has remained fearless, shrugging off a disappointing 2013 Finals performance to continue to show us something we have never seen before, on a nightly basis.
Much like Ginobili, the Spurs continue to surprise us. While last season brought heartbreak in a first Finals loss, this year brought the first back-to back Finals appearance for the franchise, resulting in another ring to match those Cowboys from up North. With only a back-to-back title remaining on Duncan’s NBA bucket list maybe these Spurs will surprise us again. For now, let’s cue up the Prince and bask in the basketball glory. The race for seis begins tomorrow.