Basketball eminence and honorable grouch Gregg Popovich is the longest tenured professional sports coach in America. At the helm of the San Antonio Spurs since 1996, Popovich has led the team to an elite place in sports history. He holds the NBA record for most consecutive winning seasons at 19 and counting. Recently Pop confessed that in all these years he’s never thought about an opposing team as much as he thinks about the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors. “I’ve spent more time thinking about Golden State,” Popovich said, “than I have any other team I’ve thought about my whole career.”
Popovich respects how Golden State wins. But he hates it. Popovich respects winning and tries to respect how the game has evolved, but in moments of candor Popovich admits he hates the 3-pointer (“I still hate it. I’ll never embrace it. I don’t think it’s basketball. I think it’s kind of like a circus sort of thing.”). Given that Golden State takes more three-pointers than any other team in the league*, much of the record amount of time Popovich spends thinking about the Warriors has to be spent hating on the evolution of the game as manifest in the Warriors deep-stretch, 3-bomb attack. But Pop is no pure hater; he’s a purposeful man. And he knows how evolution works: to stop something’s growth, you have to keep it from thriving.
*Houston vies with Golden State for the most 3-point attempts. San Antonio ranks 25th.