I stood in at my best friend’s wedding recently, looking the part in my dapper gray rental tuxedo. (Is it just me, or are tuxedo rental businesses the clothing equivalent of predatory payday loans?)
I held back man-tears during the groom’s vows; gave a lackluster, San Antonio Spurs-infused wedding toast, evidencing why I have pursued print rather than broadcast journalism; and attempted to dance. I stood on both sides of the camera. I mingled. And I realized: weddings are sort of like sporting events, but both sides get a ring. The bride and groom assemble their rosters of bridesmaids and groomsmen, outfitted with uniforms and specific duties. There is an abundance of raw emotion always on the verge of punctuating the pleasantries. Attendees treasure the moment.
Now that the 2010-2011 NBA season is one-third complete and the San Antonio Spurs are off to their best start in franchise history, a new-look, high-octane offense continues to shower Spurs fans with a treasure trove of basketball booty.
It feels like a perpetual honeymoon.
The Spurs’ standard of living, relative to other teams, has remained top-tier because of a collective team effort, beyond the GDP of Ginobili, Duncan, and Parker, stretching all the way to the 12th man, Chris Quinn.
Gone are last holiday season’s pleas for a Richard Jefferson gift receipt, as he’s since unearthed a steady hand from behind the three-point arc. When he’s not busy tickling the twine three points at a time, Matt Bonner continues to carve his way toward possibly becoming the first NBA player to star on History Channel’s Ax Men.
Non-traditional rookie Gary Neal doesn’t need to worry about returning to his old ways as a European basketball vagabond; the 26-year-old has proven fearless when it comes to shooting the basketball.
George Hill’s game continues to mature. DeJuan Blair displays moments of Glass Doctor brilliance, grabbing rebounds with authority. Not to mention, they remain prolific tweeters.
Of course, there are also the Spurs’ stalwarts.
Tim Duncan’s individual numbers are down, and he’s not even the first or second option. But, it’s Tim freaking Duncan. He still hosts a nightly block party, flirts with triple-doubles, and can go into you-can’t-and-won’t-stop-me-vintage-mode.
Tony Parker recently won Western Conference Player of the Week. The 28-year-old continues to attack the basket with fine-tuned European nimbleness. When driving lanes are closed, Parker has excelled at distributing the ball to the open shooter.
Manu Ginobili (TED Talks tweeter, amateur astronomer, and basketball magician) has done it all. Game-winning shot? Check. Game-winning shot, followed by taking the game-winning charge? Check. To borrow a Barkleyism, Ginobili is “the engine that stirs the drink.”
I’ll be the first to admit the Spurs fail to receive proper dap from the national media. They always have. (Apparently winning equates to being “boring.”)
Moreover, the Tim Duncan-Coach Pop relationship often stands in the shadows of the NFL’s Belichick-Brady. Maybe, it’s because of alliteration. Maybe, Coach Pop needs to wear a mythical, grungy hoodie as he commandeers from the sidelines.
Yes, it’s only December. Yes, we lost to the Mavericks. Yes, we haven’t played Boston or Miami. Yes, in the past, this team has had bad luck with injuries. Yes, Tim Duncan is old. Yes, DeJuan Blair is an ACL-less medical miracle.
But, who cares?
The Spurs look healthy, invigorated, and allergic to losing — playing at a stupefying level.
So treasure the moment, Spurs fans. Smile. Laugh. Hug and kiss. Wear your rental tux into the ground. Dance. Cry. Play Lonely Island’s “I Just Had Sex,” because it’s the logical next step. Sport, like marriage, demands we not only take the commitment leap but that we treasure the high points when we got ’em. And these are days worth being present for.