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October 27, 2020

Coach Popovich’s Big Picture


Gregg Charles Popovich, an NBA coach of the most successful sports franchise in all of sports the San Antonio Spurs.  As a matter of fact, coach Pop as he is popularly called is also the longest tenured coach in all of professional sports.  Not to mention, he led the Spurs into a record setting 22 playoffs appearances with 50+ wins during the regular season.  As a result, the Spurs achieves five (5) championships (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014).

To put it in another way, Gregg Popovich’s legacy has long been written in the halls of the basketball gods.  Indeed, his longevity in coaching has produced quite a number of following.  Some of the head coaches of today have a direct connection to Coach Pop. 

To enumerate, the long list of contributions he provided the basketball world; let’s view it to the perspective of coaches of the NBA.

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First, is Steve Kerr Head Coach of the Golden State Warriors. Basically, Coach Kerr is most impressed with Popovich’s ability to adapt constantly.

“There have been probably four or five iterations of the Spurs over the last two decades,” Kerr said. “That’s maybe Pop’s biggest strength is being able to constantly adapt.”

“Pop was the first one to start resting guys and cancel shootarounds because he recognized what his team needed and he recognized where sports science was going and so his ability to adapt and adjust,” Kerr added. “He’s always kind of ahead of the curve.”

Second, is Coach Doc Rivers of The Los Angeles Clippers.  To say the least, if players want to be like Michael Jordan, coaches want to be like Gregg Popovich.  That speaks volumes.

“He’s great,” Rivers said before Thursday’s practice. “I think every coach in the league wants to be like Pop. Players want to be like Mike, we want to be liked Pop.”

Third, is Coach Frank Vogel the next coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Nuf Said.

“Coach Pop? He’s the godfather.”


Lastly, is the General Manager of the Brooklyn Nets and former player of Spurs – Sean Marks.  He discusses what resonates with him during and after his tenure with the Spurs’s coach.

“The Spurs [culture] is well documented. A values-driven family culture, family environment they had there. There was certainly some things there that we wanted to take. It resonated with me too. It’s one thing to say, “Well, we’re going to change the culture,” but you have to be a firm believer in it. You have to believe that, this is who I am, this is how I want to compete.”

“I always remember the big picture way Pop looked at things. You could sit there and deliberate on an idea, whether it was a free agent, or a draft guy, or as simple as your travel schedule and should you practice on a day or should this be an off day? The way he was able to just focus and really, for lack of a better term, dumb things down and really simplify things to show, “Well, this is how we’re going to do it. Let’s look at it. What does Tim Duncan want to do? How does Manu Ginobili feel about this?” I think there’s a lot of that that we try to do, and not get lost in the weeds. If we can stay true to our building blocks, the things that really matter, we won’t get carried away and worried about all the little things that can somehow derail a vision pretty quickly.”

Ultimately, what impresses most people towards Coach Pop’s approach is the way he manage to apply his perspective of Basketball to the kind of environment that he’s in and keep it.


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