San Antonio Spurs News

26 Times Gregg Popovich's Greatness Went Beyond Basketball

Gregg Popovich
Gregg Popovich / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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Gregg Popovich, Patty Mills / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

23. "He Told Me He Loves Me and He Understands."

The 2022 season has been an eye-opening shift from the Spurs of old, and the departure of Patty Mills signaled the complete severance from the roster that last won a title in 2014.

Even though he was still playing well, there was a mutual feeling that it was best for both sides for him to move on this season. The Spurs could charge into a new era behind their young core while Mills would be given a chance to win another title in Brooklyn.

Still, when Patty made the difficult decision to officially depart from his home for the last 10 years, it was as emotional as you'd expect for him and Popovich.

"By the time I made my decision, it was past 3 a.m. I think it was almost 4 a.m. So, it was obviously too late to be able to make a phone call," Mills told NBA.com.

"I just sent (Popovich) a text and let him know about what I was feeling. To my surprise, he responded within, I think it was like three minutes or something. [He told me] that he loves me and he understands."

San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovich / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages

24. Coach Pop's Daughter Tells Him to Get Over Himself

Not many have had the courage to come at Gregg Popovich, but even he needs to be settled down sometimes. After the devastating Game 6 loss to Miami in the 2013 NBA Finals, he's admitted to dwelling on what could've been in the months to follow.

“I think about Game 6 every day,” Popovich said. “Without exception. I think about every play. I can see LeBron's first shot, and the rebound, and the second."

Over the summer, it came to a point where his daughter, Jill, had to tell him to get over himself.

“OK, Dad, let me get this straight: You won four championships, and you go to a fifth Finals," she said. "Other coaches lose all the time. But poor Greggy can't lose because he's special. Can you please get over yourself? End of story.”

As Coach Pop said, that speech started him on the path to recovery.

Just from following this season's team closely, he looks like he's having some of the most fun he's ever had with this new group.

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