Such a serious young man. (Image via Spurs Nation)
Yep, that fresh-faced youngster is San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, as captured in the Air Force Academy's 1970 yearbook.
That's the year Pop graduated with a bachelor's degree in Soviet studies after spending four years as a guard on the academy's basketball team, capped by a senior campaign in which he averaged 14.3 points per game (tied for the Falcons' lead with center Ron Weilert) and served as the team's captain. If he knew that hoops coaching greatness lay in his future, that poker face certainly doesn't offer any hints — nothing but stone cold square (or, I guess, triangle)-jawedness coming from the future sideline stalker.
The accompanying text might not quite be "Get chicks or die trying," but it's still pretty amazing, and very perfectly Pop:
He came to these nondescript hills from Merrillville, Indiana with his ways and his ball. Ball has continued to capture Popo's time during his visit at the Academy. What he did while here may have been bad and it may have been good, but he learned it did not matter much either way. He has, however, learned much about life during his revealing stay, and some profess that it was due not totally to fine associations and tutelage. His future plans include happiness.
"His future plans include happiness." Really?
Sorry you haven't accomplished your college dreams, Pop (or, rather, "Popo"). If it's any consolation, you're not alone. When I graduated, my future plans included "learning how to play 'All the Young Dudes' on guitar" and "figuring out where that smell is coming from." No dice on the first one, and I moved out before nailing down the second.
Still, life's long, and we can establish new goals and make new plans, like you winning your fifth NBA title or me merely figuring out what "boogaloo dudes" means. Ever skyward, Popo. We can do great things if we keep striving and smiling, as you did in this accompanying photo ... even though the yearbook editors spelled your first name wrong. Twice.
Now THAT'S more like it. (Image via Spurs Nation)
Oh, well. At least they let us know you made the shot.
Hat-tip and salute to Dan McCarney at Spurs Nation.
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