Spurs 2014 champion team is a blueprint for governance

spurs bleacherreport

On a mission . . . [Photo source bleacherreport.com]

By Andrew Lim

I begged for Joe’s indulgence to allow me this short piece on the San Antonio Spurs’ recent championship in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

This is not a sports blog, but the team had distinct characteristics that made for good analogies in geo-politics, economics and life in general. As disclaimer, I confess to having rooted for this team since 2003.

The team that won this year’s crown (2014) had the greatest number of foreign-born players on its roster. Only seven were born in America, and strictly speaking, Duncan was born in the US Virgin Islands. Eight were from the following: Australia (2), Canada (1), Italy (1), Argentina (1),  Brazil (1), France (2) .

Imagine how the team bus or plane must have sounded like. Many players come to the US speaking very little English. Imagine the difficulties of integrating them to the team and explaining everything to them. But the universality of sport transcended that, and ultimately, everyone bought in to the team’s philosophies:

  1. Keep the ball moving.
  2. Don’t settle for good shots, look for great shots.
  3. Keep pounding the rock.

Of course, sports teams are built for the glory, the money, and the joy of competition. They don’t really care if they represent or symbolize anything at all.  But observers like us like to read into these things, derive value from it, and apply it to other things.

The international character of the team reflects how America leads in these times: authoritative, but not overbearing. Inclusive, not racist. Collaborative, not dictating.

The decision to retain its aging core reflects the value of continuity, and of understanding the past.

The continuous ball movement virtually guarantees opportunities will be made along the way. By not caring who gets the credit, Spurs players are able to move the ball to the optimum position of scoring a goal.

The team has an aversion to hero-ball, or the celebrity aspect of the athlete. Even its newest key player (Leonard, who won the Finals MVP) seems so painfully shy. Down to a man, they resist too much glamour and exposure. They even dress so ordinarily- flannel and checkered polos as opposed to avant-garde fashion for others.  San Antonio culture is not Miami or Los Angeles!

I fully expect the Spurs to look for a Philippine-born player in the mold of their back-up point guard Patty Mills (Australia) in the future. I am most confident that we have players of the same size and skills as Mills.

13 Responses to “Spurs 2014 champion team is a blueprint for governance”
  1. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    “What Goot is a Goot President if 99.99% of Filipinos are not Goot” – MRMP

    Lakers … Bulls … Nicks … Heat …. Over reliance of singular star power !

    Spurs, they played as a team. Everybody is a Star. An example of team play.

    Philippines, there is only one star player: Benign0 Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III.

    The rest are not goot. Investigations STILL TURNS INTO CONFESSIONS and ADMISSIONS. Prosecution is still Star Whistleblowers and Star Witnesses bribed by State Witnessship Program.

    Filipino Audiences by the millions, judges by a handful, televised yet they still believe Miami Heat won not Antonio Spurs. Filipinos knew Miami Heat won. Filipinos knew Miami Heat was cheated. Because Miami Heat coach is a Filipino, that is according to Filipinos. In my book, Miami Heat coach is not a Filipino, he is an American.

    The Filipinos has already made up their mind that Miami Heat won because of the “Filipino” component. The Filipinos also are so sure that Tanda Pogi and Sexy are guilty by mere promotion from Philippine Press. Thereby, perpetuating the Hustisya Matuwid (na baluktot).

    So, forever will be, Philippines will be the same, unfortunately. Standard ang Poor, pa rin.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Good players of Lakers were bought and traded to the highest bidder … rending their demise.

      Spurs are close to receiving AARP letters despite THEY played good. When people think of Lakers they think of Kobe. Shaq. Miami: James. When they think of Spurs, they think EVERYBODY.

      In the Philippines when they think of corruption, they think of MARCOS and ARROYO. When they think of Standard ang Poor, they think of Aquino.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      LeBron cannot carry Miami by himself, like, Kobe was not able to carry Lakers. Aquino cannot carry Philippines by himself. It takes 99.9999% of Filipinos to carry the Philippines.

  2. edgar lores says:

    Hmm, sports as a prescriptive guide to life. Way to go, Andrew!

  3. Joe America says:

    The one quality of INDIVIDUAL decision-making that stands out to me is how much each person is willing to sacrifice for the team. Some have taken cuts in pay to stay with the Spurs rather than market themselves to the highest bidder (ala Kobe, a sure way to bankrupt an owners ability to acquire players to help the team; thus, the Lakers, a couple of stars and an abysmal supporting cast and all around dysfunction), the Spurs strive to make the extra pass even though it costs them individual statistics (and strangely enough, they get their statistics anyway because the extra pass comes their way, too), they never criticize their teammates, taking responsibility themselves, and they concede authority to the coach as leader and support him (e.g., Ginobli taking a bench role willingly). Cast this against the Filipino leaders’ penchant for self-dealing, for crablike taking of praise rather than giving, for blames and scapegoating, and for enduring criticisms of a President who has opened up the Philippines to so much opportunity. If the Philippines played as a team, there would be no stopping the nation’s rise to leadership in Asia.

  4. andrew lim says:

    Here’s a moving video tribute to the beauty of the playing style of this team:

    I could swear, looking at their plays was comparable to looking at the brushstrokes of medieval Italy’s frescoes.

  5. sonny says:

    Watching games 3 & 4, I lay the blame on Eric Spoelstra. He did not make the adjustments to the defensive game of the Heat: identify that they were being clobbered by a rain of three-pointers then assign appropriate defensive players to Ginobili, Leonard, Diaw/Parker; this should have been done consistently from transition to defensive assignments; instead the Heat wanted to match the Spurs shot for shot. Three-pointers have large paybacks but consistent distraction by defensive players really make the shots low-percentage shots. These defensive patterns must be practiced as part of the team’s arsenal where the role-players are already identified.

    (In my opinion, basketball is less a metaphor for life than American football. Basketball is more a commando or special ops raid.)

  6. junfallar says:

    I think Diaw is also French. That makes two reps fro France ( Parker)

  7. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    NBA players are like Filipino politicians. They are traded and sold to the highest bidders. No loyalty. Their loyalty is money. Loyalty is fame. Phil Jackson has had goot times in Lakers. He got goot squabbling backstabbing players. He put his foot down. Won another championship. When the backroom office start trading off their goot players like POEA trading Filipino slaves to highest bidder, they lost it. Lakers will never ever become champions again.

    Phil Jackson moved to Knicks. Well, like what I said, What goot is Phil Jackson if the rest are not goot. Knicks did not make it prime time, just like Philippines. All the crime fighting and corruption busting moves has to be done by the President not by people below him. The decision makingh is still centralized and cleared in Malacanang. Well, the bureaurats and cabinets have to clear it in Malacanang so that they’d not be to blame if they step on someone that has speed dial to Malacanang.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      If I were the Philippine Investigator and stumbled upon powerful than I, I make sure I clear it with Malacanang.

      What if the politician I am investigating has direct-connect, speed-dial, Moneygram connection to Malacnanag. I’d lose my job. Definitely. I cannot even trust Rappler, they are screwey, too!

      PDAF investigation was obviously and definitely got a stamp of approval from Malacanang. Else, those people investigating PDAF would fall from the sky like cornflakes.

      • macspeed says:


        Well, I am not surprise to see you here he he he as well as your opposite attract he he he.
        Anyways, you are not supposed to be where you are, nor I am not supposed to be where I am. Dig that, If the corruptions ever since the very first Philippine government are logically blocked, we should be very rich, maybe you and I are spending time with our children on a beach with blue berry wine, wow….

        But the LOGICAL LAW to block corruption was not there ever since, now we are stucked in each of our own space which we cannot abandon nor we can scape, at least we have Joe Am and other blogs, were we can exchange view and goes for LIFE and ALIVE he he he.

        PNOY is the starting point, your children and my children and other future children who wanted to live in Philippine will be very lucky to continue what has PNOY started, SWITCH ON THE LOGICAL BLOCKAGE TO STOP CORRUPTION and COUPLED WITH UN-CORRUPTIBLE POLITICIANS…HE HE HE

        Well, how are you then, I got GARMIN and taking care of myself to keep moving, I join the club with other GARMIN user and its fun he he he you may buy one so we can see at GARMIN EXPRESS he he he

        Perhaps before I die, a new technology will be invented, so I can leave my trace he he he

        June 21, 1957 was my birth, 2 days from now, I am 57years younger he he he

        • Joe America says:

          Ha ha ha, MRP and I actually get along quite well. I respect him for the artistry of his words and his keen insights, and he respects me for my ability to be wrong from time to time. Gives him material to work with . . .

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