San Antonio Spurs: Pop wants Team USA to let him lead social agenda
By Josh Paredes
You're not going to find a coach more outspoken than San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich. Whether it's on politics, social issues, government leadership, or wine, he doesn't hold back when asked to give his opinions.
While his blunt nature sometimes rubs certain people the wrong way (which is an irritating 'shut up and dribble' mentality I whole-heartedly reject), Coach Pop's constant fights for reform have gained him even more adoration than he already has in the league.
"I have a lot of respect for Pop as a coach and as a person," said Damian Lillard when he committed to Team USA. "Him being the coach played a big role in my decision to commit."
Kevin Durant, who is expected to lead Team USA to gold this summer, has also recently mentioned Pop being key in his decision to commit, adding it's always been a dream to play under him.
In a recent interview with FanSided's Mark Carman, Bradley Beal gave his thoughts on Coach Popovich's well-known fights for social reform.
"When we first came into camp, he embraced us. He understood us," said Beal. "For us, that means the world. It wasn't even about basketball. That speaks volumes to who he is."
Coach Popovich offers to lead with more than coaching
When it comes to the ultimate goal of taking a fourth consecutive Olympic Gold Medal back to the United States, Beal explained how Coach Popovich offered to make that a little easier on the team.
Referencing being outspoken on social issues, Beal detailed how Coach Popovich wants to bear the burden of doing so on a national stage. "He wants to be like, 'put it on me. I can handle this. I want you guys to focus on winning this goal medal. ' "
While Coach Popovich obviously won't discourage anyone wanting to make a statement in Tokyo, the sentiment shows he's willing to take the lead as a voice of the players if need be.
"We understand our country has its problems. Every country has its problems," said Beal. "We still have our boots on the ground who will do the work here, but we gotta go win a gold medal."
Team USA tips off their exhibition games with a matchup against Nigeria on July 10th at 8 p.m. ET and begins their official quest for gold on July 25th at 8 a.m. ET against France.
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