By Travis Hale
“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
It appeared in early autumn, when the evenings begin to regain their footing and the South Texas sun stubbornly fights for application against now abbreviated days. There were no identifying features to tie it to an individual or organization, save for the back of the embattled basketball star’s jersey that displayed his last name and number. LaMarcus Aldridge, enigmatic and beaten-down, bearer of the burden that he isn’t Tim Duncan when so many thousands of San Antonians desperately want him to be, rose above the city in a striking black rectangle.
The billboard mysteriously appeared before the San Antonio Spurs began their 2017–2018 season. And then, days after the team’s opening round playoff loss to the Golden State Warriors earlier this spring, the billboard was just as quickly gone. The Spurs claimed no involvement in its purchase and no one has yet come forward to claim responsibility. Aldridge himself denied any knowledge of the billboard’s origin, but expressed gratitude for its placement. “I’ve seen it, but I don’t know where it came from,” Aldridge said before a preseason game in October. “I appreciate it, especially after the summer with everything that was going around. So, I’m thankful for whoever done it. I want to say thank you because I actually like...