The San Antonio Spurs are leading 3-1 in the NBA Finals, well-poised to win their 5th NBA championship since 1999. Ironically, this team has a reputation for being “boring.” And now, with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili in their late 30’s, and Coach Gregg Popovich being 65, they are also known as “old and boring!” How could this be? How could one of the greatest basketball players of all time and a team that has won numerous championships be considered boring?
Unfortunately, what leads to excellence as an athlete and what makes you a media darling are entirely different things. According to sports psychologists, to be truly great, teams and players must possess the following attributes:
- A strong work ethic: Diligently working to improve skills.
- A sense of humility: Having a true respect for opponents, understanding that you are not the only one with talent.
- A love of pressure: An ability to focus, and even be excited, when the stakes are high.
- Self-motivation: A drive to meet your own personal standards for success.
- Selflessness: The capacity to put the team above your ego is the most important quality.
Notice that being controversial, self-centered, or unprofessional are not on the list. Yet, the media often finds these types of individuals most exciting and gives too much attention to athletes who make headlines for distasteful, sometimes illegal, behavior. From that angle, thank goodness the Spurs disappoint.
Tim Duncan, known as “The Big Fundamental,” has a consistently quiet, understated style, never seeking attention or glory, despite being one of the best basketball players in NBA history. His professionalism, solid work ethic, and lack of ego have earned him the respect of his teammates and fans and kept him at the top of his game, even at the age of 38.
Coach Gregg Popovich has been pivotal in pulling together a diverse team of players who strive for excellence in their sport and are able to put the team’s interests ahead of their own. In fact, the Spurs “Big 3” of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker have made significant sacrifices to stay with Coach Pop and the Spurs their entire career.
Hard work, being humble, and winning by coming together as a real team should…I’ll go for boring any day!
Go Spurs Go! And enjoy this awesome video fitting of this first-class team: