San Antonio Spurs News

26 Times Gregg Popovich's Greatness Went Beyond Basketball

Gregg Popovich
Gregg Popovich / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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It took him a fraction of the time it took those above him, but San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich now stands alone with the most regular season wins of all time.

With Friday's victory over the Utah Jazz, Popovich now has 1,336 wins in just 26 seasons. Rounding out the top three are two legendary names who likely won't be touched in all-time wins themselves. Don Nelson, who now sits at second all-time, was a head coach for 31 seasons while Lenny Wilkens coached for 32.

While I've covered rumors in the past that Coach Popovich really wanted this record, it's much more believable to think he legitimately doesn't care about the achievement as a feather in his cap. What he will appreciate about the record, however, are the people who helped him accomplish it along the way.

From once-in-a-lifetime players like Tim Duncan to his numerous assistant coaches to the current young squad, Popovich's selfless nature will likely lead him to reflect on those around him more than himself at a time like this.

Given the kind of person Popovich is, I wanted to honor his historic achievement by focusing on what has made him such a great presence off the court rather than on it. After all, the record speaks for itself. What makes Coach Pop stand out over any other coach who's ever existed is how deeply he cares for his players and wants to improve their lives in any way he can.

While many of these moments technically happened on a basketball court, they all display an off-court quality that has made Gregg Popovich one of a kind. From classic, hilarious interview segments to moving moments with his players, here's a look at 26 times Coach Popovich has demonstrated his greatness as a person over his 26 seasons.

San Antonio Spurs
Gregg Popovich / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

1. A Giddy Young Popovich Predicts Success After Drafting Tim Duncan

I can't go any further in this post without highlighting Coach Popovich's special relationship with Tim Duncan. The chemistry between the two was immediate from the first time Pop flew to the Virgin Islands to learn everything about Tim before taking him with the number one pick.

In 1997, they spoke after the pick was made official, and you could already tell their relationship was going to be special.

"As long as we work hard at it, I think we'll be able to make some in-roads in the league and he'll be a big part of it," said Popovich. I think we can all say that mission was accomplished.

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