Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr and NBA TV can't stop making 'alternative facts' jokes

Kelly Dwyer
Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr peel off some Mort Sahl bits. (Getty Images)
Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr peel off some Mort Sahl bits. (Getty Images)

When you have to laugh instead of cursing — long, drawn out reels of inappropriate words suited for the occasion but not for the airwaves — the jokes are going to be plentiful.

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This is why NBA head coaches Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr aren’t finished having fun at the expense of the otherwise-frightening early work of the Donald Trump presidential administration’s press secretary Sean Spicer, and counsel Kellyanne Conway.

Conway, who introduced a reeling nation to the idea of “alternative facts” in a “Meet the Press” appearance that felt more allegorical than Beltway boilerplate, has recently been taken to task, with tongue placed firmly in cheek, by both Popovich and Kerr.

San Antonio’s Popovich, two days after opining that he “really can’t believe anything that comes out of [Trump’s] mouth,” discussed his team’s injury woes in Spicer-ian tones, via the New York Daily News:

“Kawhi (Leonard) is out with an injury that’s not really an injury, but hopefully it will heal quickly,” Popovich said, before jokingly adding, “That’s a figurative statement. It sounds like some of the things that are going on politically in the world. I apologize. I just gave an alternative fact. I shouldn’t have done that. But it wasn’t a lie, so don’t try to pin that on me. I’m tired of you guys pinning that on me.”

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Leonard’s hand injury, coupled with absences from stars Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol, did not stop the Nets from making a game of it against the visiting Spurs on Monday. Popovich’s team downed the Nets by 26 points, a take-care-of-business sort of affair that reminded of Golden State’s determined win on Sunday over a lacking opponent from Orlando.

Playing at just over 9 a.m., their time, on Sunday, the Warriors still downed Orlando by 30 in Florida, leaving coach Steve Kerr in a good mood following a game that saw the one-time Magic reserve be introduced to the home crowd as “former Orlando Magic star” Steve Kerr.

Kerr, who played just one playoff-less season with the Magic, working just 47 games and averaging only 2.6 points per contest, was amused by the characterization:

“I believe I was here [in Orlando] three months and I scored a total of 12 points. . . . I looked at [the PA announcer] and I said, ‘Star?’ and he said, ‘In my eyes you were, Steve.’”


Kerr was asked, “Is that your alternative version of ‘alternative facts’?” He replied, “Yes, yes,” before making his crack about Spicer.

“Sean Spicer will be talking about my Magic career any second now,” Kerr told reporters with a smile after Golden State’s 118-98 win. “14,000 points. Greatest player in Magic history.”

Kerr scored just 122 points as a member of the Magic.

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Hours later, the NBA’s own channel joined in on the fun in the wake of the Los Angeles Lakers’ historically disastrous loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

Via noted world traveler and The Starters blog editor Trey Kerby:

Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant in the same backcourt. Huge, if true.

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!