Gregg Popovich may be 70 years old, but he can still give these youngbloods buckets.
Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell posted a video to his Instagram Story on Monday of the USA Basketball coach busting out a behind-the-back dribble before splashing a pull-up jumper. Check it out:
Popovich, who has coached the San Antonio Spurs since 1996, was actually quite the player back in the day for the United States Air Force Academy, where he attended college from 1966 to 1970. He served as the basketball team’s leading scorer and captain during his senior year and even earned an invitation to the US Olympic Basketball Team trials in 1972.
Though Popovich’s game is impressive, he is not the only NBA head coach that we have seen stunt on us with his handles.
Gregg Popovich will be coaching against one of his own players on the international stage next week, and he is already planning ahead accordingly.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Popovich, who is the head coach of Team USA, revealed his funny plan for slowing down Australia’s Patty Mills when the two teams play each other in a pair of pre-FIBA World Cup exhibitions.
“I’m going to take him out to eat,” Pop joked, per 7NEWS Australia. “I’m going to fill him up and try to make him fat so he can’t move around so quickly.”
Mills, who has played for Popovich on the San Antonio Spurs since 2011, is known for his speed on the court, so the former Coach of the Year’s mindset is definitely in the right place. Popovich’s wisecrack is even funnier when you consider what he said about the guard’s weight several years ago.
Gregg Popovich dismissed some trash talk from Serbia’s coach ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Serbia is viewed as a top challenger in the event to the favored United States. Serbian head coach Sasha Djordjevic seemed to say that the Americans needed to worry about Serbia more than the other way around.
“Let’s let them [Team USA] play their basketball and we will play ours and if we meet, may God help them,” Djordjevic said, via Eurohoops.com.
Popovich, who is the head coach for USA Basketball, was asked about Djordjevic’s comments and decided to stay above the matter.
If the quote from Djordjevic made its way to Popovich, there is a good chance the San Antonio Spurs coach will pass it along to his players as motivation.
What makes Serbia a leading contender at the World Cup? They have some strong NBA players, including Nikola Jokic, Milos Teodosic, Boban Marjanovic and Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Gregg Popovich seems pretty excited about Tim Duncan joining his staff as an assistant. The San Antonio Spurs coach is also very eager to joke about it.
At the first day of USA Basketball practice, Popovich spoke briefly about Duncan’s decision to join the staff, joking that the Spurs icon couldn’t coach at all and Popovich is simply paying him back for carrying him for nearly two decades.
Popovich made a similar joke when announcing the hire, and he’ll probably have more to come. The Spurs coach certainly seems very excited to have Duncan involved again, and the jokes are clearly coming from a place of deep affection.
Gregg Popovich has yet to state publicly if he intends to continue coaching the San Antonio Spurs next season, but all signs point to him coming back for his 24th season with the team.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Popovich is expected to sign a three-year extension with the Spurs that will make him the highest-paid coach in the NBA. Despite the length of the new deal, the Spurs understand the 70-year-old will continue evaluate his coaching future on a year-to-year basis.
Popovich has five NBA titles and is one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game. He’s trying to get the Spurs back to being a championship contender after they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs the past two seasons. His 1,245 victories rank third on the all-time list behind only Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkins.
For what it’s worth, Popovich intends to coach Team USA in the FIBA World Cup in China in September and then in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. He recently gave a classic Popovich response when asked if he will return next season, but it would be a surprise if he retired at this point.
Good luck getting a straight answer out of Gregg Popovich about his coaching future.
On Monday, Popovich was asked about his contractual status for 2019-20, and he joked that he was already negotiating with some other teams who are off the map a bit.
Popovich also dropped plenty of hints, however, to indicate that he intends to return for next season.
Popovich hasn’t given any indication that he doesn’t plan to be back. Sure, he’s been prickly during the playoffs, but that isn’t really anything out of the ordinary. He’ll play coy about it and he doesn’t like to answer the questions, but all signs point to him returning for another season on the San Antonio sideline.
The San Antonio Spurs had a brainfart at the end of their Game 7 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night, which left Gregg Popovich in complete disbelief.
The Spurs were down 90-86 to the Nuggets in the deciding game of their first-round playoff series. With only 24 seconds left in the game, the Spurs’ best chance of winning or tying was to foul Denver to stop the clock and hope they missed free throws. Instead, they were playing defense as if it were a one-possession game.
Popovich could be seen motioning to his players to foul Denver, which they never did.
After Denver missed their shot attempt, the Spurs got the ball back but there was so little time it didn’t matter.
“Obviously he didn’t hear anything, because he didn’t foul,” Popovich said after the game.
What were the Spurs players on the floor thinking at that point? There’s no other explanation than a horrendous mental mistake.
Gregg Popovich had to have set a record on Saturday for the briefest pre-game press conference of all time.
Popovich went to a media room to answer questions before the San Antonio Spurs’ playoff game against the Denver Nuggets. He sat down at the podium with a microphone in front of him for a few seconds. There were no questions, so he quickly got up and left.
That. Was. Amazing.
Popovich is typically terse with the media, especially during in-game interviews. In this case, he didn’t even have to do anything to not be bothered with questions.
His Spurs lead the first-round series 2-1 against the Nuggets.
Gregg Popovich is a five-time NBA champion and one of the greatest coaches in basketball history, but his passion for the sport is rivaled by his love for wining and dining. While Popovich’s incredible basketball IQ and leadership qualities have allowed him to draft, sign and develop some great players over the years, it was his affinity for wine and a good dinner that helped him land Manu Ginobili.
ESPN’s Baxter Holmes published a fantastic feature this week that examines Popovich’s borderline obsession with wine and fine dining. Several players explained to Holmes how Popovich uses the culinary world to bring his teams closer together, and the three-time NBA Coach of the Year said his passion for hosting a good gathering led him to Ginobili many years ago.
Steve McHugh, the owner and chef at upscale restaurant Cured in San Antonio, once asked Popovich why he was going through so much trouble to select what he felt were the perfect appetizers and wines for a dinner he hosted with Spanish basketball officials back in 2015. Popovich said most NBA teams will pass off such obligations to assistant coaches or front office executives, but he explained how hosting a contingent from Argentina in similar fashion years prior landed him one of the most important players in Spurs franchise history.
“I blew ’em away, and we wined ’em, we dined ’em. We gave them photo ops. We gave ’em everything they wanted,” Popovich recalled. “That’s how we found out about Manu, when nobody else knew about him.”
Popovich has been known to do the same for his players, even after brutal losses.
“I was friends with every single teammate I ever had in my [time] with the Spurs. That might sound far-fetched, but it’s true,” one former Spurs player told Holmes. “And those team meals were one of the biggest reasons why. To take the time to slow down and truly dine with someone in this day and age — I’m talking a two- or three-hour dinner — you naturally connect on a different level than just on the court or in the locker room.”
While many of us only know the Pop who treats sideline reporters like he’d rather be getting a root canal than chatting with them for 30 seconds, his players and confidants know the other side to him. In many ways, Popovich’s passion for wine sounds like it has helped his career as much as his dedication to the game of basketball.
Gregg Popovich is having a tough time with the officials.
Popovich was ejected 63 seconds into Wednesday night’s San Antonio Spurs-Denver Nuggets game. He received two technical fouls, which triggered the automatic ejection. He was perplexed upon being tossed:
Ettore Messina served as the team’s coach after Pop’s ejection.
This is the second ejection for Pop in the Spurs’ last three games. He was also tossed in the third quarter of the team’s loss to the Kings on Sunday.