Given how famously reticent San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is to submit to in-game interviews — especially those conducted by TNT harlequin Craig Sager, which Pop has now been able to distill down to four terse, spiteful words — I can't imagine that getting him to sit down for a "mailbag" column on the Spurs' official website was very easy. But whatever it took — some nice wine, a promise of a first-born, whatever — the Spurs.com staff got it done, and the results, as you might suspect, were brilliant.
The tone was set, appropriately enough, by Blogfrica's own @CardboardGerald:
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Question: What is your favorite thing a reporter has ever asked you?
Gregg Popovich: (Chuckles) I'm just going to assume that I've never had a favorite. I've had some real wing-dingers that they've asked me but I can't say they're favorites.
We here at BDL wish all of our readers nothing but luck as you work to integrate "wing-dingers" into your daily parlance. Please be advised that we will most certainly be doing the same.
Hit the jump for more classic wisdom and sound advice from the NBA's most delightfully grizzled curmudgeon.
We all know that, thanks to the Internet-fueled democratization of media production tools, it's easier to find and consume myriad types of music today than it has been at any point in human history. But how do you know what the good stuff is — the stuff you should search out, listen to and pay to see when it comes to your area?
You ask Pop.
Location: Los Angeles
Question: Who are some of your favorite musical artists, and any amazing live shows you've seen come to mind?
GP: The last live show I've seen was Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. And they're still one of my favorites, you know the old stand-bys.
Strong moves, Pop. "Carry On" is a stone-cold jam, after all. But what if "classic rock" isn't your brand of vodka? What if you'd like to branch out a bit?
[...] everything else is sort of foreign. It's Egyptian, Usef, he's an Egyptian guy, or Turkish music. That kind of thing. So pretty strange, a lot of different things.
For sure. Just go seeking out Egyptian guys named Usef and asking them to sing for you. Just open up a new tab on your Yahoo! Axis browser and perform a Yahoo! search for "egyptian guy usef singing," and you're probably going to be just about all set for any car trip you need to take.
What about any of Stephen Jackson's [music]?
Jack used to try to give me some of his tapes, but, first of all I couldn't even understand what was going on, and some of them you could even dance to, but once I started hearing what they were saying and everything I just gave them back.
This kind of feels like it would be an apt description of literally every non-basketball interaction that Pop and Cap'n Jack would have, right? Two men speaking entirely different languages with entirely different motivating factors and entirely different points of emphasis, eventually just sort of shrugging their shoulders and affirming that they will continue to share one another's lives and a mutual love of basketball, but that they will not actually "get" one another. That said, it might be nice if Pop resumed taking an interest in Stack's musical activities, considering Jack doesn't seem interested in abandoning the booth anytime soon.
Pop went on to detail his summer reading list — he's working through a pair of books about Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Putin (because old habits die hard for the military man who graduated from the Air Force Academy with a degree in Soviet studies) and taking another whack at James Joyce's famously inscrutable "Ulysses" ("Too difficult to understand, too many big words, concepts that are way over my head, but I've always told myself I have to tackle this") — and answer some actual basketball questions, too, singing the praises of sophomore-to-be Kawhi Leonard and discussing the importance of hanging on to several key free agents from a team that tied for the NBA's best record last season.
But in a time of financial hardship for many in this country, Pop's most important advice came in response to an aspirational query:
Question: What advice do you have for aspiring basketball coaches (other than get Tim Duncan as your centerpiece)?
GP: Buy a coat and a tie, and get a job.
Feel like Pop would've killed at the RNC with that one.
And if that chestnut, for whatever reason, doesn't work for you, you can always soothe your sorrows with a cold one:
Location: Washington DC
Question: I know you're a wine man, but I was wondering, what's your favorite beer? Thanks, Adam
GP: Stroh's. In the tall bottle.
Well, at least we all know what we're drinking this Labor Day weekend. (Safely and responsibly, of course.)
More of these, please. More Pop interviews all the time, forever and ever, amen.
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