Week 16 NFL rewind:

Ball Don't Lie

Gregg Popovich’s wife thinks he should be nicer to the press

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

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Gregg Popovich explains the physics of dribbling to Craig Sager (Andrew D. Bernstein/ Getty).

In addition to being one of the NBA's best coaches, San Antonio Spurs boss Gregg Popovich has a tendency to tell the media what he really thinks of their questions. Between quarters, he tells TNT's Craig Sager as little as possible — he sometimes says just four words. At this point, it's part of Pop's brand. Plus, fans seem to enjoy it, especially when reporters ask questions that seem designed to plug gaps in columns rather than to learn something interesting about the game.

However, it seems that one person does not approve of Pop's method with the media. It's also someone he should try to please: his wife. From an interview on 790 the Ticket in Miami with Dan LeBatard, Stugotz, and Stan Van Gundy (via PBT), as transcribed by Sports Radio Interviews:

Why he makes things so tough on courtside reporters:

"I know. I'm a jerk. I'm going to go ahead and admit it publically to the whole world. Tell me what to do. What should I do? The quarter ends, you just got outscored by 12 points, they had eight offensive rebounds so the question will be 'you just got outrebounded by X amount so what are you going to do about it?' I don't know. Am I going to make a trade during the timeout? I don't know. I'm going to do drills here for a while by the time the game starts, I don't know. I'm not going to do anything. I'm just going to go back to the bench and hope we play better. I don't know how to answer so sue me for being stupid and not having the answers to the questions. (Host: Keep doing it, it's entertaining.) It entertains everybody but my wife. When I get home and she says 'geez why are you so mean? You're a jerk, people hate you.' I go I'm sorry honey, I have to do better next time."

On being criticized by his wife when he gets home:

"And there's no exaggeration. Did you see that guy honey? Did you see him? All you have to do is see him and you know why I answered the way I did. (She says) 'That's no excuse, you're a grown man. Show some maturity.' I said 'I can't, I can't do it."

Mrs. Pop has a point, because the coach doesn't only act like a grump when the Spurs have performed poorly. Popovich has also teased reporters for asinine questions at postgame press conferences, and his in-game battles with Sager and others regularly come after quarters in which the Spurs were just fine. The truth is that Pop just enjoys identifying asinine questions. We like it because those questions often seem silly to us, as well.

But that doesn't mean that every question Pop mocks is worthy of such scorn. The key isn't to stop doing this entirely, because then Popovich wouldn't be himself. Instead, he should take his wife's advice and really think about the question and the person asking it before he starts one of his comedy routines.

Because, even if he shows it in a fairly immature way, Popovich acts like this because he wants reporters to be more mature and ask serious questions. As long as he's not too much of a jerk, no one wants that to change.

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