So I may have made up the Esperanto part. Forgive the home-spun hooey for a moment, but I personally want to make sure to write some positive articles after the black hat posts of the last two weeks. This will hopefully be a more than one-and-done feature on giving respect where it's due. By the way, San Antonio is named after the Portugese saint "Anthony of Padua"; I had always wondered where it got its name from, and now I know.
San Antonio has but two sports teams that I know of; the San Antonio Spurs (men's basketball) and the San Antonio Silver Stars (women's basketball). This post is written to praise the Spurs.
Photo available for purchase here.
Tim: You know, Tony, in this country it is traditional for rookies to allow veterans to punch them in the nose. It's how you become a part of the Spurs' family. You want to be part of our family, right?
Tony: Um...I guess so.
Manu: (laughs, remembers falling for this last year)
As for the Spurs, I respect their star players for making themselves into stars despite what appeared to be a lack of physical gifts. Tim Duncan was born in the US Virgin Islands and hoped to be a swimmer. Although he did have the advantage of height, he was no hotly sought after recruit. As I recall (according to Feinstein's book on the ACC in 1996? or so), Wake Forest's coach was lucky to find him.
Tony Parker is a short man in a country not known for its NBA stars (Frederick Weis, anyone?). Manu Ginobili is not particularly tall, fast, or high-jumping for his position, and is from Argentina. All three came to the US from very different areas of the world and became champions through their hard work.
Yes, their style of play may not be as visually attractive as that of some teams, but their ruthless consistency in performance is admirable. I know someone else must have noticed this somewhere (I couldn't find it via Google), but I believe they have to be considered as the first team made up of international stars to capture the NBA championship. (No, only Olajuwon, not Sam Cassell, counts as international from those mid-90's Rockets teams, ha.)
I don't know if the Spurs can win the title this year, but it would shock few people if the number sequence 1999,2003,2005,? ends in 2007. It's a good sign that in their win over Phoenix recently, Tim Duncan put up a 4X5 game (5 or more assists, blocks, rebounds, and points) despite only being 2 of 9 from the line. If TD has enough in the tank, San Antonio may yet acquire their fourth title in the last decade.