Creating a culture of involvement in San Antonio
There’s a hallway in the AT&T Center outside of the team’s locker room, training room and the coaches’ offices. It’s where all the reporters hang out to interview Coach Pop before the game, and all the players come in from the parking garage.
In this hallway, one wall is lined with framed pictures. A few are team pictures from over the years, but most are action shots of each of the players. Jacob Riis’ famous quote about pounding the rock hangs near here, transcribed into different languages so that everyone — not just the native English speakers — can burn it onto their brains.
About a week or two ago, the pictures were changed out for newer ones. Interestingly enough, Alonzo Gee is in one of the photos. It’s an image of Gee going up for a dunk against Caja Laboral in the preseason. There is also one of Garrett Temple.
Gee could be traded or sent down to Austin today and no one would be surprised. The same could be said for Temple. And yet, the Spurs make it a priority to do the little things to make sure that every player feels a part of the team. I doubt there would’ve been anyone complaining of the pictures of Gee and Temple were just a couple more photos of members of the big three, but they aren’t.
Chris Quinn was signed by the Spurs on last Friday. On Saturday night, his locker had a complete nameplate on it. No one would have blamed the Spurs if there was just a piece of athletic tape with Quinn’s name on it as a placeholder until his nameplate was finished. But the team had it finished in time for the game.
The Spurs are a major league franchise, so I imagine they have the horses to accomplish these things with a fairly quick turnaround. If Alonzo Gee is traded today, I would expect to see his photo changed out by the next time I’m at the AT&T Center, waiting to interview Coach Pop.
I’m inexperienced enough not to know how things go for other teams, but I imagine that these are the goods that inspire people to regard as the Spurs as a first-class organization. The little things they do to make everybody feel like an important piece of the puzzle. Alonzo Gee isn’t alienated because he’s the 14th man on the roster.
He gets a picture in the hallway just like Tim Duncan.