RANK EVERYTHING: Vacation Destinations (compiled from the hometowns of Spurs players)

This is the second installment of a new features series called RANK EVERYTHING.  In each installment, I will take a topic or category from pop culture and sports, no matter how essential (all-time favorite NBA players, a Lost character fantasy draft), random (best use of the name Walter), or essentially random (the third tracks off every U2 album a.k.a. The “With or Without You/One” Battle to the death), and make a ranking on a given scale or set of criteria.  Some rankings will be of manageable length (10-20), some rankings may be of a slightly unmanageable length (if I ever get around to my Top 100 movies, albums, or TV show lists), and some rankings may feature only one or two items (For example – Best/Strangest Use of “World” when an NBA player changes his name: 2. Metta World Peace [formally Ron Artest]; 1. World B Free [formally Lloyd Free]).  The goal: to rank everything.

One additional note: rankings will always count down: the lower the number, the [insert given adjective/qualifer here] the item.

RANK EVERYTHING: Vacation Destinations (compiled from the hometowns of the current members of the San Antonio Spurs)

The Vacation Destinations will be based on a hypothetical ten day trip during a time of year of my choice. Travel time will be considered. The ranking is entirely subjective.

The why: On my way to work a few days ago, while considering last Thursday night’s loss to OKC that ended the Spurs incredible streak of nineteen straight wins (their last previous loss was back on February 21!), I went down a rabbit hole of Spurs related thoughts. I am astounded by their fifteen years of excellent basketball. I am in awe of their system, of the genius of Gregg Popovich (what I would do to get an inside look inside his brilliant basketball mind), and of the culture of winning that they continue to foster. Always a compilation of international players, it has been a while since the years of Fabricio Oberto, Rasho Nesterovic, and Beno Udrih. I wondered: Do the Spurs still have as high a number of international players (another consistent attribute of the “House that Popovich and Duncan Built” success story) as they usually do? The answer: Yes they do. Five of fourteen players on the Spurs current roster were born in the United States (six if you count Tim Duncan’s U.S. Virgin Islands place of birth). This means that at least eight of their players came of age elsewhere (a remarkable number). I began to think about a hypothetical summer road trip in which Pop takes the team on a tour of every player’s hometown (and you know if this would contribute to more wins, he would decide to embark on such a trip in a time period shorter than his average sideline reporter television interview). This fantastic idea led to the topic for this second installment of “Rank Everything.” Without further ado…

14) North Babylon, NY (hometown of Danny Green)Danny Green

Why North Babylon? I am sure it is a lovely town…North Babylon High

Why not North Babylon? It is in the middle of Long Island and not on the coast; A “vacation” and the headline “Squatters are spoiling North Babylon” do not mix so well together

A little taste of North Babylon culture:

13) Concord, NH (hometown of Matt Bonner)Matt Bonner

Why Concord? Concord is a lovely, quintessential New England state capital; It is within driving distance from my house; It was originally settled by a man named Ebenezer; Matt Bonner is awesome; There is a statue of the esteemed President Franklin Pierce “downtown”Concord, NH

Why not Concord? New Hampshire’s “Live free or die” motto doesn’t ever sit well; Ten days is a long time to spend vacationing in Concord, NH; the Massachusetts (blatant bias) Concord is better; The Concord police force needs to chill

A little taste of Concord culture:

12) Ontario, CA (hometown of Jeff Ayres – the artist formally known as Jeff Pendergraph)Jeff Ayres

Why Ontario? Ontario has an airport; Ontario sports the self-professed largest mystery murder dinner show in America; Ontario has an annual “Pancake Breakfast and Car show” and are notable pioneers for even considering this concept; Landon Donovan is a resident; By all accounts, it is kind of a beautiful placeOntario, CA

Why not Ontario? The last edition of Kenny Rogers Roasters closed in 2011 and this the saddest of news; known as the “gateway to Southern California” – gateways to places are never as fun as the places themselves; Jeff Ayres is not exactly the most compelling member of the San Antonio Spurs

A little taste of Ontario culture:

11) Riverside, CA (hometown of Kawhi Leonard)Kawhi Leonard

Why Riverside? The birthplace of the CA citrus industry; the largest Mission Revival building in the country; 47 minute drive to the Pacific; Riverside has 28 neighborhoods and neighborhoods are wonderful to exploreRiverside, Ca

Why not Riverside? Referred to as a “smog belt” – pollution is a problem; It is close, but still a 47 minute drive to the ocean in Los Angeles is not a 47 minute drive; This annual Dickens festival seems more creepy than cool

A little taste of Riverside culture:

10) Irvine, CA (hometown of Austin Daye)Austin Daye

Why Irvine? The weather is almost always sunny and warm; The presence of an In-N-Out Burger; Some cool movies have filmed there; Will Ferrell is a resident; I always liked Austin’s father Darren Daye; It is the safest big city in the country (populations over 100,000)Irvine, CA

Why not Irvine? In 1918 there were 60,000 acres of lima beans grown on the Irvine Ranch – I don’t like lima beans; Irvine is apparently the home to Jim Rome and Aubrey O’Day

A little taste of Irvine culture:

9) Canberra, Australia (hometown of Patty Mills)Patty Mills

Why Canberra? Canberra has tried to do some wonderful environmental things with greenhouse gas emissions and waste; The Shine Dome; Home to the National Folk Festival and the Royal Canberra Show and who doesn’t want to attend an agricultural show with rides – there is “so much fun to be had”Canberra

Why not Canberra? It’s not Sydney or Melbourne; The flight to get there is going to take an incredibly long time; Although close, Canberra is not on the ocean; Winter in Canberra is winter; “That’s no harbor, that’s a lake (a fake lake!)”; A great place to be a bureaucrat

A little taste of Canberra culture:

8) Joinville, Brazil (hometown of Tiago Splitter)Tiago Splitter

Why Joinville? The climate is “always relatively hot”; interesting history of German descendants; The only city other than Moscow to house a branch of the Bolshoi Ballet; Home to the “world’s largest dance festival”Joinville

Why not Joinville? Close, but not on the water; not the most diverse city in Brazil; It is far from Sau Paulo and even further from Rio; the tragic fights at a football game in December are not too welcoming to tourists

A little taste of Joinville culture:

7) Toronto, Canada (hometown of Cory Joseph)

Cory Joseph

Why Toronto? Toronto has both an American and European flavor; It is the manageable kind of large metropolis that you can experience on a ten day vacation; Rob Ford as a menace to society and as a perfect example of Tyson Zone potential; Rob Ford press conferences; the pronunciation of the word “Toronto” with a Canadian accentToronot

Why not Toronto? Rob Ford; The fact that the people of Toronto seem to tolerate Rob Ford; The Raptors and Blue Jays are usually really bad; The cold in the winters is really cold

A little taste of Toronto culture:

6) Bahia Blanca, Argentina (hometown of Manu Ginobili)Manu Ginobili

Why Bahia Blanca? The city was founded as a fortress! There is a daily train to nearby (relatively) Buenos Aires; There are two zoos! Manu Ginobili is a national treasure – any place that Manu Ginobili calls home is a place I want to visit; It is on the Atlantic OceanBahía BlancaWhy not Bahia Blanca? Although a port city, you have to travel a little ways to get to real beaches for swimming

A little taste of Bahia Blanca culture:

5) Cormeilles-en-Parisis, France (hometown of Boris Diaw)Boris Diaw

Why Cormeilles-en-Parisis? It is where Boris Diaw is from (this should say it all); A quiet suburb of Paris? Yes, please; It has an awesome fortCormeilles-en-Parisis

Why not Cormeilles-en-Parisis? It is landlocked; You are inevitably going to want to take transport to Paris during many of your ten days

A little taste of Cormeilles-en-Parisis culture:

4) San Giovanni in Persiceto, Italy (hometown of Marco Belinelli)Marco Belinelli

Why San Giovanni in Persiceto? It’s in Italy; There is a castle where you can stay; Some of its history goes back to the year 728; There was a healthy anti-facist resistance force during World War II; It’s in ItalySan Giovanni in Persiceto

Why not San Giovanni in Persiceto? It is not on the water and is a little bit of a distance from larger cities; It may be a better place to live than a place to vacation

A little taste of San Giovanni in Persiceto culture:

3) Bruges, Belgium (hometown of Tony Parker)

Tony Parker

Why Bruges? “One of the most romantic places I have been to” – Deniz; Sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the North” because of its canal system; The city is about 1300 years old; Most of its medieval architecture is still intact; The city still employs a full-time carillonneur to work the bells of the 13th Century belfry; If you want to live history (as I do!) on your San Antonio Spurs player hometown trip, Bruges may be your best choiceBruges

Why not Bruges? Bruges is known for its lace – I am not sure this is a good thing; The recent movie In Bruges starring Colin Farrell put me to sleep

A little taste of Bruges culture:

2) Christiansted, Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands (hometown of Tim Duncan)Tim Duncan

Why Christiansted? Christiansted has a near perfect tropical climate for beach activities; Alexander Hamilton was once a resident and then moved to New York and helped found the United States; Tim Duncan was once a resident and then moved to San Antonio to begin a fifteen years (and counting!) NBA dynasty; Christiansted has some cays and cays are awesome; Island hopping!Christiansted

Why not Christiansted? Hard to avoid its checkered history as a Danish colony town built by African slaves; Tropical paradise is not the right vacation for all

A little taste of Christiansted culture:

1) Gisborne, New Zealand (hometown of Aron Baynes)

Aron Baynes

Why Gisborne? The possibility that there is a “Sir Guy”; Beautiful beaches with great surf; The annual Rhythm and Vines Music Festival; Gisborne often makes skinny dipping world record attempts; Potential for Lord of the Rings sites day trips; First city in the world to see the sun each day (for part of the year)Gisborne

Why not Gisborne? It is a trek to get there

A little taste of Gisborne culture:

What do you all think?  Did I underrate any destinations? Did I overrate any destinations?  How would your rankings differ?

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