Hall of Fame-bound coach Gregg Popovich has won five championships since he took over on the San Antonio Spurs sideline 19 years ago.
But in a video linked by NBA on TNT’s Twitter account, the man with more than 1,000 career NBA wins cited a singular source as the secret to San Antonio’s success.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 30, 2015
“I am part of five championships,” Popovich said, before pausing briefly. “But that’s because of coach Duncan.”
This isn’t the first time Pop has credited his success to Tim Duncan’s presence.
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Back in April 2003—about a month before he won championship No. 2—Popovich received the Coach of the Year honor. According to the Associated Press via the Deseret News, Popovich said:
"“A few years ago, we won the No. 1 pick in the lottery. Everybody raise your hand — if we hadn’t gotten Duncan, who thinks Popovich would still be standing here?”"
While the legendary coach has mentioned Duncan’s impact a few times since then, the video posted on Thursday provided a comical-yet-important reminder that the duo has been extremely successful because of each other.
Popovich will probably continue to deflect that praise, but the 66-year-old absolutely deserves a share of the glory when NBA fans remember the dynasty he and Duncan established back in 1999 with their first ring.
Sixteen years later, Pop and his secret to success are chasing championship No. 6.