San Antonio Spurs News

26 Times Gregg Popovich's Greatness Went Beyond Basketball

Gregg Popovich
Gregg Popovich / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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18."Pop Is So Good, He Coaches Both Teams."

It's not every day you see a coach pulling double duty for both sides, but that appeared to be the case during a November game against the Minnesota Timberwolves last year. While his team wasn't putting up the best performance in what would end up a loss, Coach Pop still took some time to give some words of advice for opposing guard Patrick Beverley.

Beverley ended the night with just eight points, though, so maybe Pop was just telling him to take it easy.

19. Coach Pop Actually Expresses Emotion After a Win

Before any kind of on-court emotion was seemingly drained out of Popovich, he actually used to celebrate big moments with smiles and cheers. Yes, I know that's hard to believe, but there's real evidence of it happening to back up my claim.

In 2011, the Spurs and Lakers were in a classic battle on TNT that came down to the last minute. Naturally, the ball ended up in Tim Duncan's hands. After his attempt went long, Antonio McDyess rose up to tip in the gamewinner right before the buzzer sounded.

As you can see, Coach Pop was excited about the play.

Nowadays, even a buzzerbeating half-court swish from Jakob Poeltl won't make him bat an eye, but it's good to know he once was capable of celebrating with a smile.

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Gregg Popovich / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

20. "What's My Legacy? Food and Wine. This Is Just a Job."

The running theme throughout Pop's time as a coach has always been that life is about much more than basketball. From making sure his guys get enough family time to speaking out on world issues, no one emphasizes that more than he does.

Beyond those priorities, Coach Popovich is also quite a food and wine aficionado. "Sommeliers and restaurateurs claim to owe their careers to the man," said an ESPN article in 2020. "Those close to him say Popovich's office at the Spurs' practice facility looks not unlike a wine cellar: bottles often all over the place, cases stacked up in the hallway," it continued.

Team dinners have always been a way for Coach Pop to bond with his guys, and his love of wine comes in handy with those outings as well. It's safe to say he owns bottles that are older than some current Spurs in his personal collection.

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