San Antonio Spurs: A Lesson In Globalization

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The term globalization is defined as “the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture.” Two of the supposed “basic core aspects” of globalization is said to be the migration and movement of people and the dissemination of knowledge. Acclaimed Sociologists Martin Albrow and Elizabeth King described globalization as: “All those processes by which the peoples of the world are incorporated into a single world society”. Throughout the vast history of the United States, New York City is often thought to be the center of the world and is said to be the quintessential “melting pot” due to the migration of diverse cultures that migrate to this great metropolis in search of a new life, a new hope and ultimately to live out the so-called “American Dream”. What gets often lost in this country, as we seemingly find the topic of immigration being heavily debated amongst politicians and certain sections of the population at large, is the fact that for the most part, this country’s evolution was in large part due to the lack of borders and the acceptance by Native Americans of all who sought refuge on their land. In other words, before the concept designation and construction of Ellis Island, America for the most part was one gigantic, freestanding “Ellis Island” that was immersed in the ideological aspects of globalization. In our current world, we live in a time in which the world has for the most part shrunk due to the World Wide Web and other tele-communicative devises; however the process by which we seek out our dreams remains the same. And as the old adage goes “we must go where our dreams take us”. In this particular instance, globalization will not be about trade transactions or capital investment. This take on globalization in its truest form, is about two things: Basketball and the players from around the world who migrated to play it. Their destination? San Antonio Texas.

I love to ingratiate myself with people from different cultures because it is the easiest way to touch the entire globe without purchasing a plane ticket. Albeit I am a die-hard NY Knicks fan (don’t worry my wife sends me to counseling for this condition of lunacy) I make no qualms in revealing the envious basketball crush I have on the San Antonio Spurs (we are dating they just don’t know it yet). Their franchise has always exhibited the type of class, professionalism and dignity that any fan of any sports team yearns to cheer for. But what enhances their allure that much more is the fact that they also win championships in the process. I am a person who embraces change in most aspects of life, however I hold a certain stubbornness when it comes to basketball and my theory on how the game should be played. I grew up watching arguably the greatest era of basketball during the 1980s and in turn, I had the privilege of watching what most of us deem as the greatest player ever to play during the 1990s. So for me, I know basketball only one way and that is “the right way”. It’s what dynasties have been founded on and what the history of this great game was solidified upon. Now I’m not dead set on the refusal of change. Let’s face it, my High Definition television forbids me to even compartmentalize the black and white television I grew up viewing that reminds of the scene from the movie Poltergeist (I refuse to look back into the gray and black pixels of the light Carol Ann). In fact I love the newfangled gadgetry of this era. I recognize that time evokes a need for change, but overall it’s hard to change ones system of values. My mother taught me a valuable cliche when assessing a movement towards change. She would say “You don’t go from sugar to sh%t”, meaning you make change for the better and not the worse. I’ll admit that I have been a miserable basketball fan for several years now, as I’ve been pining for a glimmer of hope. A hope that someone would please resuscitate the air back into the orange sphere of Spaulding and dribble the damn ball the “right way”. Well sometimes prayers are answered and sometimes there’s an additional windfall that accompanies the prayer. After a seven-year drought, the San Antonio Spurs captured their fifth world championship of basketball on Sunday and they did so by overthrowing the reigning two-time champions (Miami Heat) in what was perhaps the greatest route in NBA Finals history. This win was done by playing sound, fundamental basketball; all within the context of team concepts. This phenomenal feat also marked that of a philosophical change in the NBA, as this idea of five individuals playing together as a one went completely away from the modern-day, standard, norm of featuring supremely gifted individual talents as a focal point instead. I am also one who likes to “wax poetic” from time to time and wanted to also sensationalize another point of emphasis with regards to the changing of the philosophical guard as well. Not only was the San Antonio Spurs a team oriented team; they are also a team that resembles the philosophy of globalization. When peering down their roster, you will find a collection of globally diverse individuals from many different parts of the world. Tim Duncan was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tony Parker and Boris Diaw both hail from France. Manu Ginobli is from Argentina. Patty Mills and Aron Baynes are natives of Australia. Rounding out this United Nations mosaic is Marco Bellinelli of Italy, Tiago Splitter of Brazil, Cory Joseph of Canada and of course Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Austin Daye, Matt Bonner, Jeff Ayers and Damian James of the United States of America. This worldly conglomerate, at the command of head coach Gregg Popovich, all convened in the one of the most unlikely place of destination (San Antonio) because they decided to go where their dreams took them. The dream of course was to capture an NBA Championship. I think what we can draw from this is the fact that when there is a common goal and there is a genuine collective effort being put forth to achieve that goal; that the backgrounds, religious beliefs, cultural rituals and language barriers of the individuals should not be deal breakers, but more so mere hurdles to be jumped over and not to be thwarted by. Sports has commonly been known to bring together people from many different economic classes, ethnicities and genders. It is the one time where everyone roots for the home team and against the common enemy at hand. Not that the issues of society can be solved by a lay-up or a three-point shot, however, somehow teams like the San Antonio Spurs have been able to do what no world leader has been able to do, which is gather nations, set a goal and commit to achieving it. I’m not sure what the solution is for the world problems at large, but I do believe that the leaders of the world may want to take a look into Gregg Popovich’s play book for some answers. Some may dismiss this by saying it’s just a game, well I will offer a rebuttal of that by saying don’t many refer to our existence as the “game of life”? Perhaps I’m wild and zany or perhaps I’m just a dreamer of sorts. But this I do know, San Antonio solved my basketball misery, so it’s not so far-fetched that they just may be able solve other issues as well. As children we are taught to “play nice”; but now we just seem to want to “play evil” instead. If we only knew how to play together, then maybe we can start to “play the right way”. #SA World Champs

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