26 Times Gregg Popovich's Greatness Went Beyond Basketball

Gregg Popovich
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San Antonio Spurs
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25. Popovich Establishes a Coaching Tree That'll Never Be Matched

From his former players and assistants going on to win titles (Steve Kerr, Mike Budenholzer) to becoming the spearheads for impressive rebuilds as a GM (Sean Marks), Coach Pop's coaching tree is perhaps his biggest legacy.

Coach Popovich has influenced dozens of guys around him seeking their own success in the league, and it's led to nearly every team having some connection to him or the franchise.

The most successful protege of Pop's, Steve Kerr, is set to take over Team USA going forward after Coach Pop's recent gold medal run, and it's safe to say the team will be in good hands.

Currently, two of the favorites to come out of the Western Conference have head coaches who used to play for Popovich -- Monty Williams in Phoenix and Kerr in Golden State.

dark. Must-Read. The Popovich coaching tree is really a forest

San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich / Rob Carr/GettyImages

26. "Thank You for Teaching Me It's Not All About Basketball."

It's only fitting I end this how it began -- with a tribute to the bond between a special coach and a special player. The bottom line is the city of San Antonio was extremely fortunate to witness such a talented group of guys dominate the league for so long. They were even luckier that the group, coach included, was the most humble assortment of stars we have ever seen in sports.

In Tim Duncan's Hall of Fame speech, he exemplified that humility and the entire team's desire to be great without seeking attention.

"I don't want to talk about him," began Duncan. "He's going to get mad at me if I talk about him."

Tim's speech concluded with some heartfelt words for the man who flew thousands of miles decades ago just to get to know him.

"You came to my island. You sat with my friends, my family. You talked with my dad. I thought that was normal. It's not," said Duncan, fighting back tears.

"You are an exceptional person. Thank you for teaching me about basketball. But even beyond that, teaching me that it's not all about basketball. It's about what's happening in the world, about your family.

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Tim Duncan concludes with a simple statement of appreciation that millions of us can agree with about Coach Pop.

"Thank you for being the amazing human being you are."