San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich achieved another milestone in his historic coaching career, passing Phil Jackson on the all-time wins list on Sunday night.
It took 10 games to get there, but San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich pulled off the latest achievement in his future Pro Basketball Hall of Fame career. With Sunday night’s win against the Phoenix Suns, Popovich earned his 1,156th win. He became the sole holder of sixth place among coaches in all-time wins, passing former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
Only five coaches remain ahead of Popovich. They are the following:
- Don Nelson: 1,335 wins
- Lenny Wilkens: 1,332 wins
- Jerry Sloan: 1,221 wins
- Pat Riley: 1,210 wins
- George Karl: 1,175 wins
Look for Popovich to move into fifth place this season, with fourth in his sights for the 2018-19 season. From there, though, unless Popovich coaches into his early 70’s, it may be difficult to eclipse Wilkens and Nelson and exceed the top two. The five-time NBA champion doesn’t seem like he’s slowing down, however, so maybe he sticks around, long enough to get another 180 wins.
Whether Popovich does or doesn’t achieve a spot in the top two, he’ll still go down as one of the NBA’s greatest coaches. His work in the late 1990’s, which translated into a historic run through the 2000’s and early 2010’s, gave him five titles and created a dynasty franchise. He contributed toward the selections of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, the cornerstone pieces of the past two decades, and coached Kawhi Leonard into the superstar he is now.
More success will be on the way for Popovich, whether it’s increasing his win total or capturing another championship. Appreciate him now, because you never know when he may step down, much like Duncan quietly walked away after the 2015-16 season.