What does it take to become a successful franchise? Does it require having superstars on your team or spending lots of money on them? Is it about being able to make smart decisions involving players and financial issues?, Does it require time and patience? For awhile now, we’ve seen how sports teams use different ways in order to win and become an successful organization. For example, both the L.A. Angels and the N.Y Yankees love to spend lots of money, like there’s no tomorrow during free agency, while the N.Y Jets tend to create drama and make questionable decisions every season.
Despite those examples, I feel there’s only one team out there that not only doesn’t cause drama or attention to themselves, they tend to do everything right and that team is the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs have been one of the most successful franchises in the last 15 years or so and have accomplished a lot of things during that span. They have won a lot of games every season, made plenty of appearances in the western conference finals, and won 4 NBA tittles. The Spurs recently came close to winning their 5th tittle against the Miami Heat ( they lost to them in 7 games in the finals).
When most people talk about the Spurs, they usually describe them as “boring” or “not exciting to watch” and although some of those things may be true, I would say their “winners”, “smart”, and “Great”. Even though many people think that the Spurs are not the most intriguing team in the NBA or in the sports world, I feel that they have to respect them for how they run things and for becoming one of the most classy organizations we have in sports today. I also feel that people need to quit complaining and putting down the Spurs, because they’re not the most exciting team to watch or don’t play a certain style, and instead, need to recognize and embrace them for what they have achieved in this long period of time i.e. being able to be successful throughout that period.
I like what the Spurs have done in the last 15 years and how they’ve run their organization. I feel that they’ve been able to do a lot of things better than some other sport organizations and some of those things include decision making, not creating drama on and off the court, and being able to have longevity among their players and their head coach. I believe that these are some of the things that the Spurs follow and I feel that all sports teams should not only learn from their success, they should try to copy some of the things that they do and see if it can help them become a better and successful organization.
One of the most amazing things that the Spurs have been able to do for so long has been the ability to keep some of their players around and having them stay with the team for a long time. Before there was the Miami Heat’s big three, there was the Spurs own trio, which consists of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. The most unbelievable thing about this big three, besides still performing at a high level, is they’ve been together for more than 10 years, not to mention that Duncan has been with the team since 1997, the year he was drafted. Besides having longevity among their big three, the Spurs also have had longevity with their long time head coach Gregg Popovich, as he has been their coach for more than a decade.
It’s unbeliavble that Popovich, Parker, Duncan, and Ginobili have been with the Spurs for this long. I feel it’s so hard to be with a team for so long these days, doesn’t matter if you’re a player or a head coach or which sport it is. Free agency is bigger and more important than ever in all sports and this is one of the big reasons why we don’t see as much longevity in sports as there used to be and why players tend to not stay with their teams for a long peroid of time. I also think that head coaches are on shorter leashes than ever and are not given enough time to help out a team and they tend to always get the blame for all of the team troubles and not winning a lot of games.
I sometimes wonder, “what happened to longevity?,” and in the sports world, that’s fair to ask. I don’t like it when team owners are either impatient with their players or their coach or always have to decide if they have to make changes, because they weren’t able to win a championship right away, either by trading and getting rid of some players or fire the head coach. For example, there were rumors and speculation that if the Heat didn’t win their 2nd consecutive championship, the team may have thought about splitting up the big three, after only three years together. I never understood this scenario. I probably never will, and I did asked myself, “why split them up”, if they’ve been doing well, are a really good team, and have made it to the finals three straight seasons?
Besides having longevity among their players and their head coach, the Spurs also have done a great job in not creating drama or discrations for themselves. To be honest with you, I can’t think of another team besides the Spurs, that is drama free or doesn’t want the media spotlight. Some of the reasons why people think the Spurs are boring include their not flashy, have no drama, or their players don’t have intriguing personality’s. In my opinion, It’s always a good thing for a team to not have to deal with drama, the spotlight, or a player’s personality. It benefits the team and their players. Although having unwanted drama or attention can be bad for a team, it sometimes can be beneficial for a team as well, as long as they use it the right way and there’s not so much of it that it does cause problems among the team and takes a toll on them.
We’ve seen different examples of teams creating too much drama and media attention to the point it did cause distractions for them and caused them to crumble under the pressure. I feel that the perfect example of this were the 010-011 Miami Heat. Remember all of the media spotlight and attention that team got during the whole 010-011 season? It was crazy and unbelievable, I’ve never seen so much attention and pressure goes towards any team like that before. All of the attention and expectations that went towards that Heat team all began when the big three first got together, in an explosive and overexaggeratted introduction of them, and this was the same place where James said those famous quotes,”not one, not two, not three.”
After the introduction of the big three and those quotes, the pressure, expectations, and the drama began and we saw at some points of the season that the team did get distracted and got lost underneath it all. Although they were able to win a lot of games and were the eastern conference champs that season, all of the attention, media spotlight, and pressure eventually got to them, when they lost the 2011 finals to the Dallas Mavericks in 6 games. Once they lost the finals, the team got mad and were disappointed and seemed shocked that they were’nt crown champs. The media didn’t help the Heat that much after they lost the finals, as they were trying to point out that it was a failed season since they weren’t able to win the championship and didn’t live up to the expectations.
I think that one of the biggest reasons for the Spurs success for this long period of time and continuing to dominate has been the way they handle themselves and not worry about other things. If you ask most players on the Spurs, they would tell you that they don’t care about the media or the attention, they care about one thing – winning championships. I feel that all sports teams should think like that, not their perception or image.
The one other thing that I feel the Spurs do well on is their decision making, especially on the financial side. They tend to always to make the right decisions, no matter what the situation is or how it affects the team. I would say that not only they have the best decision making skills in the NBA, they may be the best at this in all other sports. On the financial side, the Spurs are not known as a big spending team and they don’t give too big of contracts to either incoming free agents or their players. I feel that they use their money wisely and not spend too much of it on one guy and by doing that, be able to bring in players who may not be well known or whom no one wanted and make them a valuable asset.
Even though there are other teams that are conservative with their money and do make good decisions, there are obviously examples of teams that love to spend money on players and tend to make questionable decisions surrounding either them or their players.
I feel that the one team that’s fits this example perfectly are the N.Y Yankees. For years, the Yankees have been known to spend lots of money in free agency and on their players and making questionable decisions that have affected the team greatly. The one decision that the team should regret doing and wish they could press the redo button on was the one that gave A-Rod one of the biggest contracts in sports history. A-Rod has been in the news a lot over the last couple of years, stemming from either injuries or his steroid uses and just recently, it was discovered that he may be one of the players, listed as part of the Biogenesis case. Since the news of MLB’s latest PED scandal, many people and critic’s have said that A-Rod may no longer be with the Yankees, after he comes back from his latest injury, and that the team should get rid of him.
Although the idea of getting rid of A-Rod is possible and it may become beneficial for the team to do that, it probably won’t happen because letting get of A-Rod is to expensive to do right now. A-Rod still has 7 years left in his current contract with the team, which was finalized in o7, and is due about $100 million in the next few years and if the Yankees did decide to release or trade him, they would have to pay him all of that money. I feel bad for the Yankees a little bit because I think they would seriously consider letting go of A-Rod, if money wasn’t the issue. At the same time, I blame them because they should never have given him such a big contract.
I believe that no athlete is worth $100 million, doesn’t matter if it’s Peyton Manning, Lionel Messi, or Tiger Woods, it’s too much money and it can sometimes be a risky move for a team to do. If the Yankees would’ve thought about the A-Rod contract a little more and not making the value so high, maybe they wouldn’t be in this predicament with him and could’ve made all of this drama go away so much easier.
Like I said before, I really like how the Spurs run their organization. They seem to always do the right thing for their players and themselves and you rarely hear anything negative about them or them dealing with controversy and unwanted attention. In my opinion, the Spurs are one of the best organizations in sports and this is why I truly believe that all sports teams should at least try to do some of the things that they do. The best part of a team trying to be more like the Spurs is that they don’t have to change their style of play or get certain players for it because it was never about that, it was about how to run a better organization.
By teams trying to copy the Spurs, not only could it help them become a better organization, they would be able to still play their own style of game, without any issues. It doesn’t matter if you have a fast offense like the Heat or a tough, physical defense like the Pittsburgh Steelers, if you can copy some of the things that the Spurs do, you can achieve some success and be a better team. If all sports teams tried out the Spurs model, not only would they be more successful and not have to deal with the media spotlight, player personality’s, and financial issues as much as they have to and that’s something we can all respect the Spurs for.