At the spry young age of 48, Gregg Popovich took the reins of the San Antonio Spurs from Bob Hill. After 25 years, five NBA titles, and 1,458 wins, he still loves the gig as much as he ever has.
Riding a three-game winning streak highlighted by team defense and all-around contributions, the Spurs are turning some heads in a season they were expected to miss the playoffs entirely. After Friday’s impressive win over the Denver Nuggets, San Antonio is now fourth in the Western Conference, 2.5 games behind the Lakers.
Now in his 70s, Coach Pop is often asked about his future with the team and what makes him keep coming back. Friday evening, he had a touching response to that question.
“Watching a new generation of players that are 19, 20, 21, 22-years old, is both a challenge and extremely satisfying to watch them develop,” said Popovich. “Not just their basketball skills, but their awareness on the court, what’s going on in their world, what’s going on off the court.”
Of course, the natural competitiveness of basketball at its most elite level also keeps Pop ticking, as you can hear for yourself in the full clip below.
This doesnt sound like someone ready to retire soon. Gregg Popovich on why he continues to coach, now at age 72. 'The competitiveness in game situations is thrilling'…adds watching this generation of players is extremely satisfying as is learning about them beyond basketball. pic.twitter.com/JJiJZ4J7uc
— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) January 30, 2021
Gregg Popovich’s ability to connect with players of any generation off the court has been a big part of why he’s widely thought of as the best coach the NBA has ever seen. Whether it’s showing them tough love, helping them with personal matters, or trolling them to lighten the mood, Pop just knows how to get the best out of his guys.
Who knows how much longer we’ll be fortunate enough to see Gregg Popovich remain the head coach for the Spurs, but it’s safe to say the city of San Antonio loves him as much as he loves the game.