Spurs’ Coach Gregg Popovich: “I Can Never Retire”
By Michael Rehome
Though Tim Duncan has retired from the game, Head Coach Gregg Popovich on the other hand can’t see himself doing the same.
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Popovich reflected on Duncan and how he has left a big hole in his stomach. The two have been linked together for 19 years. Alot of history, friendship, respect has grown between the two legends in their own rights. “There’s a big hole in my belly,” Popovich said of Duncan. Every day over the span of his career, the two have been close. Popovich never treated Duncan differently than other players.
“I think about the culture and his humor. I’ve been used to that for 20 years and now it’s gone. I have to find that in some other way, some other power, some other player. I have to do something. But life goes on for all of us.”
Life does go on. Popovich in a piece with ESPN stated that “I can never stop, I can never retire”. Popovich signed a multi-year extension with the Spurs in July 2014,and is at least committed to Team USA basketball through 2020. The facts that support his statement of never retiring is the promises that he has made and keeps making to players. This is what makes the Spurs organization one of a kind. Not only making promises but keeping them.
“I had to keep making promises. Manu was going to sign a few years back and he was like, ‘Are you going to be here?’ Tony, then Kawhi. Then when we were recruiting LaMarcus, he was like, ‘Are you going to be here?’ it just goes on and on. So I guess I can never stop, I can never retire,” Popovich told ESPN.
Many believed Popovich would hang it up after Duncan walked away from the game. In fact, he joked around and stating that he got roped in reverting back to the questions that he was asked by players if he would still be in San Antonio.
“You know what happened? I just got roped in,” Popovich joked.
Popovich is well-respected around the league and is a busy man. This summer he is with the US Men’s National Team preparing for the Olympics in Rio.
If Popovich continues to coach the Spurs through his time with Team USA, he would further cement himself in history as the longest-tenured NBA coach — currently at 20 seasons with the Spurs as head coach and 26 with the franchise in general.
There will be a time when Popovich too will walk away from the game.
“There’s gotta be some time when we’re trying to sign a free agent and he goes, ‘Pop, are you going to be here?’ and I say, ‘Nope, I’m leaving next week.'”