Revenge? No. Redemption? Yes.
The San Antonio Spurs are NBA champions. They beat the Miami Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals in five games, after coming so close to winning last year. The Spurs’ mistakes from last year didn’t come back to haunt them. Instead, it motivated them to get back the Finals this season and win.
The Spurs were the best team in the NBA this year. Key word: TEAM. The Spurs deserved to win the NBA title, because they play the right way and with the right principles. They play for each other, they play selflessly, and they make sacrifices for their teammates.
One of our co-editors, Aaron Candelaria, described the Spurs’ journey to an NBA title extremely well.
“In a game where superstars matter, the Spurs showed that a team-first mindset can still help you win it all, even against the likes of the superstar-ridden Miami Heat.”
Kawhi Leonard was named Finals MVP, but so many different players on the Spurs significantly contributed to this Finals win. Surprisingly, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan weren’t the stars in this series. The Spurs got huge boosts from Leonard, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Patty Mills, and Boris Diaw.
For much of the series, it seemed like the Heat were a one-man team. LeBron James ran the team, as he usually does, but he didn’t get much help from anyone else. Dwyane Wade was absent, and Chris Bosh wasn’t as aggressive as he had to be.
This year, the team that played like a cohesive unit prevailed over the band of superstars. The Spurs won because of their teamwork, persistence, determination, hard work, passion, and, most importantly, character.
After their Game 5 victory, Ginobili and Parker spoke about this Spurs team’s mentality. Sam Amick of USA Today Sports has the report:
“We played at a really high level, defensively and offensively, making the moves, attacking the seams,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said after Game 5. “Everybody contributed. It wasn’t about Tim Duncan or Tony Parker. It wasn’t about Kahwi (Leonard) or Danny Green. It was about team, and that’s what makes it so, so nice.”
“I’ve been very blessed and very lucky to play with Timmy and Manu and coach Pop,” Parker said. “He’s unbelievable. I know he doesn’t like when we talk about him to I’m not going to say nothing. We’re a great team and we do it together.”
As Parker said, Gregg Popovich truly is unbelievable. He is one of the greatest coaches in NBA history, and he’s the master of motivation. He creates an atmosphere where players are held accountable for their actions, and he expects the best out of his players at all times. Many people believe Popovich is too tough and emotionless, but he is the biggest advocate for his players. He believes in them, and he will fight for them.
For example, Popovich has been a big part of Leonard’s development as a player, and he’s Leonard’s biggest supporter. After Game 4, Popovich made sure Leonard knew this.
“I couldn’t be more proud of you,” Gregg Popovich told him. “You made some shots, and you played good D. But you competed – 50/50 balls, being active, the whole deal.”
Popovich has even been like a father figure to Leonard, whose father was shot and killed six years ago. It’s truly special that Leonard won his first NBA title on Father’s Day. It’s almost like it was meant to be.
This was a storybook ending for Leonard and the Spurs. Not only did they win on Father’s Day, but they won after suffering such a tough loss to the Heat last year. Despite all the critics saying they’re too old and too boring to win another NBA title, they fought all the odds, and they’re now NBA champions.
The Spurs also proved, yet again, how much tougher and how much more competitive the Western Conference is compared to the Eastern Conference. The Heat were the best team in the East, and the Spurs blew them out in four out of the five games in the series.
The Spurs are an elite team in the NBA, on and off the court. They play exceptional basketball, and they carry themselves with the utmost respect and humility. They showed the Heat how basketball should be played.
Playing with character might not be as exciting as a Wade-James alley oop, but the Spurs winning is great for the NBA’s reputation. The NBA should be proud that they have a team like the Spurs representing them, especially after such a superstar-driven “team” won the past two years.
As a basketball fan, I feel so honored to have witnessed such beautiful basketball and teamwork from the Spurs. It renews my faith in true teamwork working in the NBA. A team doesn’t have to succeed because of the greatness of one superstar. Real teams do exist and can be successful in the NBA, and the Spurs proved that.
It’s great to see a true team of genuinely good people like the Spurs succeed at the highest level. The Spurs are the classiest team in the NBA, and their class, professionalism, and humility has led them to much-deserved success. Congrats to the team who plays and wins the right way, the 2014 NBA Champions, the Spurs!