Late on Sunday night, I finally turned off the television as the San Antonio Spurs won their fifth title in fifteen years, beating the vaunted superfriends Miami Heat (Chris Bosh was Aqua Man). I felt pride, not because I was a Spurs fan (Pelicans, bitches: KAW KAW), but because I was among the vast majority of basketball fans who root against the Heat because it’s the fun thing to do. Watching the Spurs play amazing team basketball, some of the best I’ve seen in over a decade, was incredibly enjoyable to me. And the celebration was great, because everyone loves a good celebration.
So I turn my TV off, feeling happy, and I browse to the New Orleans Pelicans fan forum, pelicansreport.com. I look in the forum for someone to acknowledge what I did, how much fun it is to watch a well-constructed team win. I hoped to find someone else who thought that with enough good work, good coaching, and luck, eventually our Pels could do the same thing.
Instead, I found a thread asking if we should sign Heat free agent Michael Beasley.
Beasley, for those of you not versed in basketball lore, is awful. He’s a headcase and a bust, clearly showing over the past few years he did not deserve to be a high draft pick. He only saw minutes in the final game of a series where the Heat were blown out four different times. Granted, he did score several points in those final minutes, but he was scoring them over people who do not regularly play NBA minutes. It was garbage time, where the announcers were more interested in talking about legacies and pouty faces than the actual product on the court. And somehow, despite all of this, a Pelicans fan was earnestly asking if we should pick this guy up.
I nearly jumped ship that night. I nearly said, “Hey, the Spurs just won and they’re fun to watch, and I bet their fans aren’t as fucking moronic. Go Spurs go!” I didn’t, of course; I’m still a Pelicans fan. But it made me think about moving fan allegiances, and how harsh I’ve been on bandwagoners in the past.
I think you should stick with a team. I was a Saints fan since birth, although it was arbitrary because I grew up here. But I’ve never switched allegiance, not during the Aint’s years, not when I moved to another city, not during Bountygate. I’ve always bled black and gold, and I always will, even after Drew Brees retires and those paper bags look so inviting again.
But sometimes you see a team win that isn’t your team, and you just appreciate what they did to get there. They didn’t put together mega free agents and throw it against the wall, hoping it sticks. They didn’t play outside of the rules. They just did things the right way, and they were rewarded with the ultimate prize. And when you see that, and you look at your own team and their fanbase, and the moves they made which don’t seem to be going anywhere…well, it’s tough.
So to you, the Giants and Jets fan, the Knicks and Nets fan, the Yankees and Mets fan (why the fuck do all those rhyme?), I’ll try to be less harsh about your ping pong fandom. Because a few nights ago, in a vulnerable state, I almost became a Spurs fan.
Like most things, I blame it on the offseason. Fucking offseason.