As the 2018-19 season draws to a close, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has the opportunity to bolster his case as the greatest coach of all-time.
Over the course of his long tenure within the San Antonio Spurs organization, Gregg Popovich has established a culture of thoughtfulness, dedication, brilliance and longevity by instilling intrinsic values to the team. As a result of his efforts, Popovich boasts a career 68.4% winning percentage in the regular season with five championship trophies to show for it.
Throughout the basketball world, there’s a resounding level of respect for Popovich as both a coach and individual. A recent poll of NBA players conducted by columnist Sam Amick for The Athletic named Popovich the most desired coach to play for, receiving 40.9% of votes. For perspective, the runner-up was Boston’s Brad Stevens with only 10% of votes.
It’s only fitting that the game’s most respected coach reaches the pinnacle of his coaching career by becoming the winningest head coach in league history.
San Antonio’s 112-90 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday afternoon moved Popovich up to second in total career wins by a head coach with 1,411 victories between the regular season and playoffs. He now trails Lenny Wilkens by one victory (1,412) and has a chance to tie the record in the regular season finale.
Reaching a milestone of this level is a historic feat for Coach Pop. If not for his guidance, the San Antonio Spurs organization may never have reached the prominence that it has in the modern NBA.
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Throughout the league, you can find branches stemming from the Popovich coaching tree. Steve Kerr, Doc Rivers, Brett Brown, Mike Budenholzer and Quin Snyder are all leading teams into the playoffs this season and spent significant time either coaching or playing under Pop.
The modern NBA wouldn’t be anywhere near as progressive both on and off the court without the guiding voice of Gregg Popovich in the NBA. Tying up the record for All-Time wins in the regular season finale against the Dallas Mavericks in legendary power forward Dirk Nowitzki’s potential final game is poetic. The game is essentially meaningless from a competitive standpoint for the Mavericks and the Spurs have already clinched their playoff berth, but there’s deeper value beyond the X’s and O’s here.
First-round matchups won’t be clear until the final buzzer of the season on Wednesday night, but the Spurs will carry the excitement of winning for Popovich into the postseason this year. Hopefully the inspiration of playing for their coach will drive the Spurs to a deep playoff run.