Sup­port for Spurs from the Big Land

Kyle Crotty of Nain was im­pressed by Dun­can and ‘The Ad­mi­ral’; re­mains a big San An­to­nio fan to this day

The Labradorian - - EDITORIAL - BY ROBIN SHORT

Imag­ine, a chap from north­ern Labrador who is an NBA fan … of the San An­to­nio Spurs, no less.

“I’ve al­ways got­ten weird looks from peo­ple when asked who’s my favourite team,” says Kyle Crotty of Nain.

Orig­i­nally from Pla­cen­tia – he’s the son of for­mer se­nior soft­ball all- star Gus Crotty – Kyle, now 28, moved to Nain in 1998 when he was nine.

“This is the time in a young boy’s life where they start to make de­ci­sions for them­selves on fa­vorite sports teams,” he says.

His mother worked as a nurse in Nain for 17 years, mean­ing he spent a lot of nights with her at the clinic, glued to the tele­vi­sion set watch­ing The NBA on NBC or any game TSN cov­ered dur­ing the week.

“Of course, it was easy to watch and cheer for the (Chicago) Bulls, but Michael Jor- dan and the Bulls just didn’t ap­peal to me,” he said. “What did ap­peal to me was the bas­ket­ball pro­gram in San An­to­nio.

“They had the Twin Tow­ers, with newly- drafted Tim Dun­can and ‘ The Ad­mi­ral’, David Robin­son, clog­ging up the mid­dle.”

He was def­i­nitely sold on the Spurs in 1999 when San An­to­nio won its first cham­pi­onship by de­feat­ing the New York Knicks in the fi­nal.

Fol­low­ing the ti­tle run, San An­to­nio’s Sean El­liott, com­ing off play­offs in which he av­er­aged al­most 12 points a game, an­nounced that he would re­quire a kid­ney trans­plant.

He re­ceived one that sum­mer, and re­turned to the Spurs in March.

“That so­lid­i­fied me as a diehard fan,” Crotty said.

Crotty played bas­ket­ball in Nain – “I was 13 play­ing against men” – and started for the Holy Spirit high school team when he at­tended Grade 12 at the C.B.S. school.

Fol­low­ing grad­u­a­tion from Memo­rial Univer­sity, Crotty re­turned to Nain where he works for the Nu­natsi­avut gov­ern­ment.

He got to see the Spurs and his favourite play­ers, Dun­can and Kawhi Leonard, on his 25th birth­day in Toronto against the Rap­tors.

Tak­ing in a game in San An­to­nio – “even if it’s a lengthy and costly trip from north­ern Labrador to south­west­ern Texas” – is on his bucket list.

“Al­though the Spurs have won cham­pi­onships (five NBA ti­tles, six con­fer­ence crowns) through­out the years I’ve been cheer­ing for them, com­mon re­sponses are ‘ They’re bor­ing’ or that I must be on some sort of band­wagon,” Crotty said.

“But the truth of the mat­ter is it’s been the Spurs’ con­stant team-first at­ti­tude with su­per­stars tak­ing roles as op­posed to be­ing stand­outs that has been my con­stant draw to the team.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Kyle Crotty of Nain has been a San An­to­nio Spurs fan for as long as he can re­mem­ber.

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