Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is famous for submitting to those quick in-game interviews with a blunt surliness that not everyone appreciates. But Popovich’s winning ways tend to forgive his gruff manner a lot of the time: the interviews are often seen as invasive time sucks on a man who is trying to get a job done — that is, to prepare his team. But it’s not that Popovich doesn’t like to talk, or doesn’t have ideas. He speaks with enormous intelligence and perspective, and his ideas draw from far and wide and can include references to everyone from John Wooden to Gore Vidal.
Popovich was asked this week about player protests and how the Spurs organization and players would handle the National Anthem after Colin Kaepernick’s stand on the issue, which Popovich called “courageous.” The Spurs coach brought a wide lens to a challenge people understandably want a simple answer for. “I think it’s really dangerous to answer such important questions that have confounded so many people for hundreds of years, to ask me to give you my solutions, as if I had any, in 30 seconds,” Popovich said. Race, he acknowledged, is the “elephant in the room.” But Pop did have the ingredients any solution would need, even if he couldn’t offer the recipe. “Understanding and empathy,” he said, “have to trump quick reactions.” People have to be “accurate” too, or the whole thing falls apart.
The thoughtful Gregg Popovich on Tim Duncan:
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Gregg Popovich more emotional than I’ve ever seen him discusses how Tim Duncan hasn’t changed since his rookie year. pic.twitter.com/USuulbqZWy
— Jessie Karangu (@JMKTV) July 13, 2016