After his San Antonio Spurs finished off a 104-87 win to complete a dominant five-game victory in the 2014 NBA Finals, head coach Gregg Popovich was clearly overcome by some strong emotions on the San Antonio sideline. We've seen him do seething; we've seen him do shtick; we've even seen him do smiley. We've seen him do silent, too, but I'm not sure we'd ever seen him do silent quite like this; in that moment, you couldn't help but wonder what was going through the mind of the peerless head coach who had just won the fifth league championship of his illustrious career.
Thanks to some behind-the-scenes camera work by the folks at ESPN and the NBA, we might have gotten a glimpse at what Pop was thinking:
In his postgame locker room address to his players, Popovich lauded everyone involved in San Antonio's success, from Spurs owner Peter Holt ("who lets us do our jobs") down through the day-to-day grinders on the training staff and in the advance scouting department.
"And we all know that," Pop said, gesturing with his brand new 2014 NBA champions hat. "Everybody in here knows that everybody in here's got a piece of this thing. You know, Kawhi thinks he did it all by himself" — Pop now pauses for the laugh, as all great performers do when the punchline hits — "but we all know that we all had a piece of it."
And here's where that glimpse comes in.
"I've never been more proud of a team, nor have I ever gotten as much satisfaction from a season, in all the years I've been coaching," Popovich said. "To see the fortitude you guys displayed in coming back from that horrific loss last year and getting yourself back in the position of doing what you did in the Finals, you're really to be honored for that. I just can't tell you how much it means. Thank you very much for everything."
Kind of helps you see why guys like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard will run through a wall if this guy tells him it'll help the team win, huh?
It wasn't all heartfelt and touching stuff, though — here's Pop proclaiming himself a "horse's ass" and getting doused with bubbly:
(And here's Matt Bonner having fun, just because it's nice when that happens:)
Let's take another, extended look at that champagne shower:
Y'know, independent of context, responding to a man telling you he's proud of you by soaking him with alcohol would probably be considered, at best, poor form. Luckily, we sports fans know better.
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