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San Antonio Spurs: George Karl gives legendary praise to Gregg Popovich

By Rob Wolkenbrod
NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 22: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs looks on as his team takes on the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half of a NBA game at the Smoothie King Center on November 22, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 22: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs looks on as his team takes on the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half of a NBA game at the Smoothie King Center on November 22, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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Former NBA head coach George Karl called San Antonio Spurs boss Gregg Popovich the greatest NBA coach of all time.

On Tuesday, Jan. 2, when the San Antonio Spurs defeated the New York Knicks, head coach Gregg Popovich achieved another milestone. He became the fifth winningest coach in NBA history, with 1,176 wins. This crossed former coach George Karl, who previously reached fifth with a handful of teams.

Earlier in the 2017-18 season, Popovich exceeded Phil Jackson’s total of 1,155 wins. So, the former has been on the fast track these past few months, as he continues to dig his way into NBA history. However, should he be considered the Association’s greatest coach of all time?

Karl, the latest coach Popovich passed, recently spoke to SiriusXM NBA Radio, about this milestone for the Spurs head coach. The 66-year-old provided high praise, calling the five-time NBA champion the greatest coach of all time, picking him over Boston Celtics legend Red Auerbach (h/t 247 Sports).

Who is the greatest coach of all-time? According to @CoachKarl22 it's the guy who just passed him on the all-time wins list… @spurs HC Gregg Popovich #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/WFp87cdntl

— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) January 5, 2018

Obviously, it’s high words from Karl, who thinks highly of the future Hall of Famer and his work in the league. They faced off multiple times, too, since Karl coached in the Western Conference from 2004-16 (Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings).

Can Popovich become the all-time winningest coach in NBA history? He’s within range of Pat Riley, who’s 33 wins ahead. Jerry Sloan is up by 44.

After that, the road becomes difficult. Lenny Wilkens sits at 1,332, while Don Nelson has 1,135 wins. These numbers aren’t out of reach, but Popovich would need two to four years to catch both coaches. At 68 years old, will “Pop” remain on the sidelines long enough to achieve this?

Next: Top 25 players in Spurs history

Whether he does or not, some may still call him the NBA’s greatest head coach. There’s time left to write his legacy, which could contain a sixth championship or another milestone. So, what will he do next?

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