A martyr for social justice in the landscape of professional sports, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich brought attention to Wrongful Convictions Day.
In a country with so much hardship and divisiveness, now more than ever, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich continues to use his platform to spread information about the wrongdoings of our current system. Well before it became the focus of the NBA’s restart, Popovich spoke on the mistreatment of African Americans in this country and asked for a more tolerant future.
Yesterday, on September 29, 2020, Popovich used his platform to bring light to a different kind of issue. A video published by a YouTube channel called ‘Innocence Network’ posted a video of Popovich discussing wrongful convictions in the United States and the devastating impact it can have on people’s lives.
“It’s just hard for me to imagine spending any time whatsoever in confinement for something that I did not do — Especially when that confinement can ultimately end up in my death,” Popovich said. The conviction with which he speaks tells everything you need to know — Pop is not just stating these things, he’s feeling them.
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During the NBA restart, Popovich used his platform to point toward the broader issues facing our country in these trying times. Earlier in the offseason, Popovich broke down the role of a white man who coaches a team with a large portion coming from the Black community. He’s also been outspoken on the country’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Being a leader is about more than just gathering your players in a huddle and inspiring them through words. True leaders also lead by example. Popovich is leading his team by using his platform to bring attention to issues that extend well beyond sports. It’s part of the reason why Popovich is so well respected throughout professional sports.
A good coach knows how to handle the X’s and O’s of a basketball game. A great coach helps his players elevate themselves both on and off the court. Think back to the best coach you had in all of your experience with sports — Whether it be as a child, in high school, college or the pros. Most of the time, this is a person who cares about you, the individual, and seeks personal growth from those he or she interacts with. That’s Popovich, except he’s doing it on the most important stage.
The San Antonio Spurs are in good hands with the greatest coach in basketball history. Keep an eye out for Wrongful Convictions Day on October 2.