While the San Antonio Spurs were busy re-tooling for next season, Gregg Popovich was busy achieving the one thing that's evaded him his whole career, wearing an Olympic gold medal around his neck. After Team USA got it done against France earlier this month, he can finally cross a lifelong goal off his list.
With the United States Men's Basketball team coming out on top 87-82 behind 29 points from Kevin Durant, they've now won gold in four straight Olympics dating back to 2008. Gregg Popovich, now 72 years old, has been outspoken about just how painful the 2004 bronze medal finish was when he was an assistant coach on the team.
After the huge win, the team sat down for a speech from Popovich, who poured his heart out to the team. The talk was captured on video and posted to YouTube by JaVale McGee.
"I feel so fortunate having the opportunity to be with all of you guys," said Pop. "We've gone through a lot. All the challenges you guys met. [With] your courage and tenacity, you just worked right through it."
Jrue Holiday, Damian Lillard, and Draymond Green could be seen listening intently to Popovich as he began to get emotional near the end of his speech.
"That's why I'm so proud to be a part of this. It's like the best feeling I've ever had in basketball," he said.
Then, in a moment that will always be both satisfying and hilarious to me, Coach Pop unleashed one final response to all the haters and doubters out there.
"I would just like to say to all those people out there, 'how the f--- you like us now, b-----?' "
It doesn't matter to me what your thoughts are on Popovich, that's just pure gold right there. That's the raw emotion of a man who sacrificed everything to finally accomplish something many thought he couldn't.
I called out a couple of Coach Popovich's biggest haters in a piece I released shortly after the gold medal final. Although I couldn't be as brash with my language, I'm glad Coach Pop himself was able to get the point across even better.