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Terry Pluto: Why I'm rooting for the Spurs (and it's not about LeBron)
Commentator Pluto says the San Antonio Spurs have a formula and legacy that likely won't be seen again in the NBA
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker have been together for 11 seasons, which Pluto says is "an eternity in the modern NBA."
Download (WKSU Only)
The San Antonio Spurs are the underdogs in the NBA finals against LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

But the team of aging veterans has pushed the defending champion, star-studded Heat to a decisive game seven on Thursday.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says he's pulling for the Spurs. But unlike many Clevelanders, it's not simply because he wants to see former Cavalier LeBron James lose.
Listen: Terry Pluto: Why I'm rooting for the Spurs

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WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says he's rooting for the Spurs because they are a unique team in today's NBA. For starters, coach Gregg Popovich has been with the organization for 17 years.

“Remember this is a league where they just fired 12 of the 30 coaches,” Pluto says. “It’s a league where only four coaches have been with their team more than three full years.”

Big three 
Their three key players, Tony Parker, Tim Duncun and Manu Ginobili, have also been together for 11 years in San Antonio, a small-market franchise.

“These guys, in that time, became free agents,” Pluto says. “They could have left. You will not find any mega-agent sitting there, telling his client ‘To develop your marketing brand, you really need to spend your career in San Antonio.’”

So why do they stay with the Spurs?
First, Pluto says Duncun is unique player.

“He’s a quiet guy,” Pluto says. “He never liked all the media attention. He just likes to play basketball. In fact, his nickname is very boring, ‘The Big Fundamental’, which means he plays fundamental basketball, where basketball now is all about dunks and slams and sizzle. He’s perfectly happy there.”

Parker is from France and Ginobili is from Argentina. “I wonder if the foreign backgrounds on these two guys make them more interested in winning or less interested in just chasing the last marketing dollar,” Pluto says.

A last chance
In a league where coaches change regularly and players want to form their own “super teams” like the Heat, this was probably the team’s last chance and a throwback to the days of team loyalty, Pluto says.

“The team has stayed together,” Pluto says. “It wasn’t like LeBron being frustrated [and saying] ‘I’ve got to go somewhere else to win a title.’’”

In a bigger market, many fans would probably get frustrated with the team and coach since they have not been to the Finals in six years," Pluto says.

“By about the year 2010, they’d start saying they’re tired of listening to Popovich, he’s too grumpy, he’s too old school,” Pluto says.

“They’d say, 'This team’s been together too long, you need to break it up.' But the Spurs ownership resisted that and it’s paid off for them here in 2013.”

Terry Pluto on Danny Green from Cavs reject to San Antonio star
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(1:23)
Terry Pluto on surprise Indians pitchers Kluber and Carassco
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(6:40)

Related WKSU Stories

LeBron James donates $1 million to St. Vincent-St. Mary
Thursday, May 2, 2013

The LeBron James Show
Friday, December 3, 2010

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