Over the past two decades, Gregg Popovich has been a leader on and off the court for the San Antonio Spurs franchise. Under Coach Pop’s tutelage, the Spurs have set a NBA-record 22-year playoff streak en route to five NBA championships. Popovich has also notched three NBA Coach of the Year awards.
Even with all his success on the hardwood, most Spurs fans know that Popovich is a better person than a coach. Over the years, we’ve all heard the countless stories of Coach Pop going the extra mile to build relationships away from basketball with his players and staff, most famously organizing team dinners throughout the years.
From franchise players to the guys at the end of the bench, Coach Pop has always made an effort to forge relationships with everyone in the Spurs organization.
In a recent interview with ESPN Brazil, former Spurs guard Alex Garcia shared his experience under Popovich.
Garcia only logged three points in 13 minutes during the 2003-2004, his only season with the Spurs. The Brazilian guard recalls Coach Pop taking a genuine interest in family off the court during his brief stint in San Antonio.
"He was very fond of us. My wife was pregnant and he would sit next to us and ask if everything was okay, how was the pregnancy and if everything was right. Popovich's wife organized with Tim Duncan's wife a baby shower for my wife. They gathered all the wives of the players for this.
"When my wife checked out at the hotel, the employee said that she didn't have to pay anything. Popovich had paid our entire bill! In addition, he paid for a spa for my wife who was in the final stretch of pregnancy. People trained all day, she stayed there enjoying everything paid for by the coach."
Coach Popovich is also known for speaking up against civil injustice. Most recently, the future Hall of Fame coach took aim at the NFL’s Commissioner Roger Godell and several NFL owners. He also released an emotional message about race following George Floyd's.
At 71-years-old, we don’t know how much longer Coach Pop will lead the Silver & Black but one thing we do know, we’ll never see another coach like him again. So let’s enjoy whatever time left we have left with Coach Pop at the helm.