Don Nelson hopes Gregg Popovich coaches long enough to break his wins record
Don Nelson is hoping to step aside in the record books for Gregg Popovich, despite the difficulties created by the sudden suspension of the NBA season.
In a recent interview, Nelson, the all-time winningest head coach in NBA history, said that he wants the San Antonio Spurs coach to break his record.
“I think it’s something that just happens if you’re in the league long enough and, if you’re able to get a bunch of wins, you got a shot at it,” said Nelson, per Wes Goldberg of The Mercury News. “But a lot of guys don’t coach that long.
“I hope he gets it,” Nelson added about Popovich, his one-time assistant on the Golden State Warriors in the 1990s. “I hope he gets it soon.”
The 71-year-old Popovich is currently at 1,272 career wins, 64 shy of breaking Nelson’s regular season record of 1,335. The 2019-20 season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic with 19 games left for the Spurs, depriving Popovich of an opportunity to draw even closer. Now he will almost certainly need more than another full season to catch Nelson.
Popovich, the oldest and longest-tenured coach in the NBA right now, is reportedly taking a year-to-year approach to his coaching future. Thus, it is anybody’s guess if he will stick around long enough to break Nelson’s record.