In a shocking turn of events, to say the absolute least, the San Antonio Spurs might be a day away from watching their season end following Wednesday's Game 6 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Which means that, for the duration of a long and cruel summer, we will be bereft of the wit and wisdom of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, as he says the absolute least to both sideline reporters and the collection of column-hungry postgame scribes alike. And his players. And then back to the sideline reporters. He's the absolute best, and whether his season extends for a scant few more hours or three more weeks, let's take a chance to enjoy the absolute best of Coach Pop.
From TNT's Inside the NBA:
I certainly would not profess to be a Coach Pop Professor, not when our own NBA editor Johnny Ludden spent years detailing the man's moods as a Spurs beat writer, but his 16-year turn as Spurs coach has been quite the journey.
Remember, even though every single NBA sign pointed toward San Antonio and then-GM Popovich firing former coach Bob Hill, the new "Coach" Pop cut the cord on Hill the day David Robinson returned from injury to a 3-15 team. The timing was harsh, and it was a rude introduction to those of us that were unaware (we were 16, geesh) of Popovich's history as a longtime assistant coach and exec. Even if we were among those who were calling for Hill to go some seven months before, after his Spurs fell to the Portland Trail Blazers.
In the years since, Popovich hasn't always pulled off that sneering brand of ha-ha to the press. In fact, at times, he's come off rather prickish and needlessly rude to those who don't deserve it. More often than not, though, those who deserve it get the treatment. And sometimes even the best questions about basketball — be they banal and phrased in between quarters on national TV — are pretty stupid. In a way, that makes it so Popovich almost has the patience of a saint.
Without rooting, or taking a side, all we can ask is for a Game 7; and the resulting two more games of Gregg Popovich adjustments, and work on camera from the eventual Hall of Famer (holy cow, what a speech that will be). By our count, that's two more between-quarter interviews, and a good eight words full of insight.
Looking forward to it, Coach.