We are continuing our weekly series of League-Wide themed posts around SBNation NBA. Today's post... well, you get it.
Let's play a quick word association game.
Hatfields and _________
Capulets and _________ (I hope people know Shakespeare, otherwise this one sucks.)
Bloods and _________ (yeah I know gang culture, what of it?)
Dallas Mavericks and _________
You see where I'm going with this.
I haven't been a Mavericks fan for all that long, relatively speaking. I only started watching NBA basketball sometime around 2004, and so my foray into the world of Dallas was bumpy, to say the least. But I've stuck with my Mavs through utterly thin and deliciously thick, and I'm a happier person for it. If it weren't for my boyfriend at the time, I wouldn't know a thing about this team, nor would I care. But he insisted that I watch and learn and become a true fan, and so I obliged. And I can tell you, one of the FIRST things I learned was that the San Antonio Spurs were on the same level as those jerks who say "FIRST" at the tops of comment threads. Complete and total trolls, a necessary evil in the world of professional basketball. They annoy everyone (except themselves) but without them, the league just wouldn't be the same.
Just 271 miles (a 4.5 hour drive) separate these division rivals, and for many that isn't nearly enough of a buffer. The teams are literally on the same highway (I-35). Ask a Mavericks fan about the city of San Antonio, and you'll hear "dirty" and "disgusting". Ask a Spurs fan about the city of Dallas and you'll hear unintelligible mumblings (this is a rivalry post. I get to be mean.) This site isn't exactly known for our high traffic, but we polled you all at the end of last week to see who you thought of as the Mavericks' biggest rival. An overwhelming majority (almost 68%) of you said the Spurs, and then RUSHED to the comments to explain why.
dimitrous chimed in with, "the more they fail the more it brings me pleasure."
entropy13 declared, without hesitation, "The Spuds."
Brogers789 actually had a coherent, well-thought out response: "I really dislike the Spurs, especially Parker, Duncan, & Ginobili. But I respect the hell outta Pop. To me that's the key to a rivalry, mutual dislike combined with some measure of mutual respect (at least in the fan bases)."
Brogers here hit the nail on the head, I think. The Spurs are easy to hate because they're good. And they're quietly good. They're not showtime, like the Lakers, or nerdy like the Thunder. They just win, and do so consistently and without mercy. Hell, stupid Forbes Magazine declared them the "Team of the Decade". Which our friendly Spurs blog, Pounding the Rock posted about in the most typical Spurs fan fashion EVER. Seriously, guys?
I will say, some of our finest sports moments as Mavericks fans have come as a result of beating the Spurs. The first game I ever attended in Dallas (with bruce182, buckets and go87... what up, dudes) was game one of the 2010 playoffs against San Antonio. And we won. And it was AWESOME. Yeah, we ended up losing the series but whatever. We've lost to the Spurs a LOT. The fun part is... now we also beat them quite frequently. Little brother has grown up and put on some muscle. And little brother is hungry for payback for all those wedgies and noogies and always being the forgotten child.
You know, I have my ex to thank for helping me become the Mavericks fan I am today. But now I have a NEW boyfriend, and (don't judge me) he JUST so happens to be a Spurs fan. A big one. Yes, plenty of people have already given us a hard time about our opposing loyalties. And I'm not gonna lie... basketball season is going to be a test for us :) But the fact is, we both love basketball. We love GOOD basketball. And there is no question that when our two teams come together, they play some truly incredible basketball.
So yes, the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs are bitter, BITTER rivals. But they are because they challenge each other and constantly vie for position atop their shared division.
Every hero needs a villain, right?