On November 20th, San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich and Dr. Cornel West were answering numerous questions on stage from high school students in San Antonio. But one answer from Pop stands out as a perfect example of what the Spurs organization is really about.
For Gregg Popovich, there are a lot more important things in life than basketball. Considering he is one of the all-time greats in his job, these things must really matter to him. So it’s not accident that he and Spurs organization, along with Harvard professor Dr. West, held talks with San Antonio youths. Students inquired about current state in USA and world, and their perspective within them.
Of course, they were also curious about Spurs chances to win the Championship. One of the students asked Pop if the Spurs could win the title, and Coach gave a memorable answer:
“Win the championship? I don’t know, but it’s not a priority in my life. I’d be much happier if I knew that my players were going to make society better, who had good families and who took care of the people around them. I’d get more satisfaction out of that than a title. I would love to win another championship, and we’ll work our butts off to try and do that. But we have to want more than success in our jobs. That’s why we’re here. We’re here so you’ll understand that you can overcome obstacles by being prepared and if you educate the hell out of yourself. If you become respectful, disciplined people in this world, you can fight anything. If you join with each other and you believe in yourself and each other, that’s what matters. That’s what we want to relay to you all: that we believe that about you or we wouldn’t be here.“
To hear something like this from NBA head coach, in the middle of competitive regular season, is really rare. But it’s something that Spurs organization cares about and tries to potentiate whenever they can. It’s about looking at the World we live in and doing what’s in our power to make it a better place for everyone. And we can do it only together.
“ I think the most important thing is that you can’t do anything by yourself. You have to join together, and be prepared, ready and active.”
This is philosophy that Pop implemented in the Spurs organization, from stuff members to players. It takes a team to get to the goal, it’s not about one member.
If we can model our family, community, and society the way the Spurs model their franchise – that would be a huge step forward.
And just to show to everyone that it’s possible to fully commit to your job, but also be socially active and aware, look at Spurs record. They are second best team in NBA this season, and have been up there for 20 the past 20 years. We can only be grateful to live in same period with them, and learn from their example.
Basketball is a beautiful game to watch, but when you integrate it with other aspects of live, more important ones, and use it to make an example for youths and influence them, you get the most satisfaction. That’s what model organizations do. We can only wish to have more like the San Antonio Spurs.