Gregg Popovich gave a strong endorsement to Becky Hammon amid a report suggesting she would be considered for the head coaching job at Colorado State.
Hammon has been on Popovich’s staff as an assistant coach since 2014 and is the first full-time female coach in the NBA. On Wednesday, Yahoo’s Pete Thamel reported that Hammon is considered a top candidate to replace Larry Eustachy as the Rams’ head men’s basketball coach. In response, Popovich had nothing but praise for Hammon.
“Becky can do anything she wants,” Popovich said, via the San Antonio Express-News’ Jeff McDonald. “She’s earned the respect of everybody in our program, top to bottom. I really respect her knowledge and her way of doing things. So whatever she wants to do in her future, she’s a natural. She’s got it all.”
Hammon coached the Spurs to a Summer League title in 2015. The 40-year-old was a three-time All-American at Colorado State and six-time WNBA All-Star. Last year she was up for the Florida women’s job but passed on it to remain with the Spurs.
Many in the basketball community believe that Gregg Popovich’s recent praise of LeBron James may not have been entirely altruistic in its purposes.
Former ESPN personality Ryen Russillo reported on Monday that there are “a lot of NBA people” who think that the San Antonio Spurs head coach’s kind words for James were a part of recruiting him to the team this summer.
There are a lot of NBA people that appreciate what Pop has to say about LeBron…but they also think it’s part of recruiting him this offseason.
— Russillo (@ryenarussillo) February 26, 2018
Indeed, Popovich heaped the praise on the four-time MVP before the Spurs played the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. James also had a very positive reaction, calling the three-time Coach of the Year one of his “favorite people.”
Just asked LeBron about being compared to Black Panther by Pop. As usual, the love is mutual. “Pop is definitely one of my favorite people I’ve ever come across in my life.”
— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) February 25, 2018
James can, of course, become a free agent after the season, and we know that the Spurs fit the profile of what he would want out of a new team. As such, it makes perfect sense that Popovich, one of the shrewdest minds in the game, would shoot his shot here.
Unsurprisingly, Gregg Popovich is taking LeBron James’ side when it comes to speaking out.
The San Antonio Spurs coach called criticism of James by Fox News host Laura Ingraham “ludicrous,” stating that we should be “proud” to have someone of James’s stature speaking out.
“To me, when I heard about that it was just an unbelievable show of arrogance for a talking head to try and tell someone else if they can speak, what they can speak about and when and where to do it,” Popovich said of Fox News host Laura Ingraham, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “It’s just ludicrous, but [also] to not have a feel for who this guy is [is disappointing].
“I mean think about when he came into public view, how young was he? And to this day he hasn’t missed a step, he hasn’t fallen off the ledge and he’s been a brilliant example for millions of kids, especially kids with lesser opportunity and haven’t had the same advantages as others. They see in this guy somebody who has consistently exhibited excellence in the work place and gives them a voice and lets them know that you can speak about anything.
“There really is a First Amendment and you can have opinions — as a coach, as a plumber, as an astrophysicist and a lowly reporter. They can have whatever opinions they want, and that’s what’s amazing about this when you look at this guy, how many millions of dollars, tens of millions of dollars he’s given, tens of millions of kids that are inspired by him, it’s kind of like the ‘Black Panther’ movie.
“How cool is that for kids to see that, to have that superhero? Well, LeBron’s been that for a long time. For somebody to be totally numb to that and attack him in such a childish way really speaks more volumes about that individual than it does LeBron. He’s very, very special. We should all be very proud that we have someone like that who’s willing to speak about a variety of topics and you listen to them all.”
Popovich’s comments aren’t surprising given the opinions he’s voiced before, but they’re on the money. James has every right to say what he wants, no matter what anyone else things.
Gregg Popovich is not about to let his San Antonio Spurs be put into a category with other dramatic teams and situations.
Even though there was a recent report saying there is discord between Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs over his injury recovery, Pop does not want you to referring to his issues as a “soap opera.”
Gregg Popovich does not believe the Kawhi Leonard story is a soap opera. pic.twitter.com/gmO9qpnQmD
— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) January 23, 2018
It’s not often that there are controversies leaking out of San Antonio. Even during rough times, like when a player such as Tony Parker lost his starting job, he handled it with grace and class. That’s how you avoid the drama.
The Leonard report was unusual for the Spurs to experience. Clearly Pop does not want it becoming a trend.
DeMar DeRozan does not expect the Toronto Raptors to have a huge advantage over the San Antonio Spurs in their game on Friday despite San Antonio’s injuries.
Kawhi Leonard is out with a quad injury, Rudy Gay has a heel issue, and Manu Ginobili has a thigh injury. Despite those injuries, DeRozan knows the 30-16 Spurs will be a tough opponent, and it’s thanks to Gregg Popovich.
Here’s what the Raptors star said about Pop:
DeRozan, asked how Spurs do 'next man up' so well: "I don’t know. Pop knows something we don’t know. Because I’ve been watching them my whole career, being a fan of his resume growing up. It’s amazing how he do it. I have no clue how he do it. Hopefully one day I can ask him"
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) January 19, 2018
The Spurs haven’t exactly been as invincible as DeRozan suggests. They’ve lost to the Lakers and Hawks in recent games. But they still have LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Danny Green and guys like Patty Mills playing well. Plus players like Dejounte Murray and Davis Bertans have done well with their extra playing time, which is partially a tribute to Pop.
Toronto should be heavily favored for the game, but it’s clear DeRozan has no lack of respect for their opponent.
Gregg Popovich was asked on Tuesday night why he thinks it’s important to give back to the community. His answer was pretty perfect.
Take a look:
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked why he thinks it’s important to give back to the community: “Because we’re rich as hell and we don’t need it all, and other people need it. Then, you’re an a– if you don’t give it. Pretty simple.”
— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) December 27, 2017
Popovich used to be blogged about regularly around here because of his surly answers to reporters. Nowadays he’s getting featured regularly for his thoughts on politics and life philosophies, and it’s awesome.
- Gregg Popovich
Coaches are leaders. Coaches are mentors. Coaches are tacticians. Coaches are father figures. Coaches are communicators. Coaches are jokesters and woke-sters (in the cases of Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich). Coaches are meme material (in the case of Doc Rivers). Coaches are disciplinarians (in the cases of Rick Carlisle and Tom Thibodeau). Coaches are punchlines (in the case of Tyronn Lue). But most importantly, coaches are winners and results-getters. Here are the coaches who have best lived up to that billing so far this season.
Stan Van Gundy, Detroit Pistons
Don’t look now, but the Pistons are a top-four team in the league through 13 games. Here’s something even more remarkable: they currently sport both a top-10 offense and a top-10 defense. No other team in the East can say that, and only the Houston Rockets and our defending champions/dictators Golden State Warriors fall into that category out West. In fairness, Van Gundy has had the benefit of an improved roster: the addition of Avery Bradley, a more consistent and better all-around player than Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and the autumn miracle known as Tobias Harris’ awakening from the three-point line, to name a couple. But SVG’s strategical decisions deserve some love too.
He’s finally trusting Andre Drummond to play regular crunchtime minutes (perhaps due to that miraculous improvement from the free throw line). And though player development hasn’t been much of a strong suit for him in recent years, the Stan Man is getting fairly solid production from the likes of Stanley Johnson and rookie Luke Kennard. Yes, Detroit finally appears to be washing away the miasma of mediocrity that has haunted them throughout 2010s, so claim your spot on the Van Gundy bandwagon now before it gets full.
Jay Triano, Phoenix Suns