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To The Men In Black

By Stephen Hale on June 26, 2013.

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Well, that hurt. It still hurts.

I really wanted this one. In some regards, you almost don’t want to get that close and then fall short. It hurts even more.

What hurts the most is that we had it won in game 6. We tripped at the finish line. Game 7 had the odds stacked against us and we still nearly won. That layup that Duncan missed with under a minute to go could have tied the game and who knows what would have happened then.

But if “ifs and buts were candy and nuts we would all have a Merry Christmas.” Sadly, it just wasn’t to be.

(AP Photo/Steve Mitchell, Pool)

There isn’t a lot to analyze here. That Miami Heat team is built for the post season, specifically game 7s. We can’t take anything away from LeBron and Wade. Those guys just hit shots. We had a strategy during the Finals to sag off and use help. We dared them to hit shots and in game 7 they did. Hats off to them.

I was pleased by our guys’ response to the loss. Seeing Pop and Tim love on those guys made me prouder to be a Spurs fan than at any other time. My wife and I are expecting our first child this November, a boy. I want to teach him about the Spurs kind of sportsmanship.

(AP Photo/Steve Mitchell, Pool)

The way the Miami Heat celebrated the win is just one reason why I didn’t want them to have it. The arrogance and self-centeredness. I wanted the good guys to win, but sometimes it just isn’t in the cards. Yet, I still feel like there is pride in the loss.

This year, I felt especially connected to the team. Watching how the San Antonio Spurs operate teaches us much about the game of basketball, but also about life. Seeing Pop coach those guys as people is bigger than any trophy that could ever be hoisted. The Cory Josephs of the world are better because of the Spurs. Heck, the Stephen Jacksons of the world are better because of the Spurs.

Now, as always, the future is in question. As Spurs fans, we know that our biggest challenges lie ahead. We kind of got lucky these last 20 years. We got Tim Duncan out of one bad season and then found Tony and Manu hidden in the draft. Three guys like those don’t come around often, if ever. While I completely trust the organization being in the hands of RC Buford, we have to realize that Pop, Duncan and Manu will hang it up eventually.

By no means am I ruling the Spurs out for next year. But it also won’t shock me to see some tough decisions made in the next two years. As Spurs fans, the future may seem bleak, initially. But that’s what makes us different from the other 29 fanbases in the NBA. We are always loyal and always faithful.

This year was awesome for us. While it didn’t end the way we wanted and the drive for five marches on, it re-solidified my loyalty as a fan. Pop and Tim don’t even know me, but I feel like I am part of the family. Family sticks together. Regardless of what happens with those guys, as well as Manu and Parker, I’m gonna be here.

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Right now, I am looking forward to an awesome future with Kawhi Leonard. That guy is an awesome shimmer of hope. And because the organization has done it’s homework, I expect him to stay a Spur for his entire career.

Don’t give up on our Spurs.

Here is to the men in Black. Forever and always. Go Spurs Go.

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