San Antonio Spurs News

Vernon Maxwell: "Popovich had a private investigator follow me."

Vernon Maxwell
Vernon Maxwell / Focus On Sport/GettyImages
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Many know San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for his on-court success and unmatched coaching tree, but if you need a reminder about his militant nature, Vernon Maxwell has a story for you.

The retired two-time champion got his NBA start with the Spurs in 1988 after the Denver Nuggets drafted him 47th overall and traded him for a second-round pick the following season. Way back when you could do something like this, they sold him to the Houston Rockets for $50,000 in 1990.

As Maxwell told, the story of how he ended up being sold to the Spurs' division rivals is a doozy.

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Maxwell told the story on an recent episode of No Chill with Gilbert Arenas.

"I couldn't do that s--- he wanted me to do," said Maxwell. "I'm from Florida. I'm new in San Antonio and these [expletives] are trying me everywhere I go, so I'm knocking [expletives] out in the streets. So Pop tells me 'no more clubs. The next time you go to a club, I gotta get you out of here.' "

If you know anything about Vernon, you probably know what came next.

"That day, six hours later, I was at a damn bar, in a club," revealed Maxwell. "He called me the next day, about six in the morning -- 'hey, I need you down here.' He said, 'I told you.' They had a PI follow me. My dumb--- didn't even know. He told me, get your s--- packed. I'm trying to find a team that wants your a--. He called me back and said 'you're going to Houston.' That's when I took off from there."

If you thought Maxwell is bitter at Popovich, you'd be mistaken. Continuing his conversation with Arenas, he talked about how sometimes the player and the environment just don't mix well. "Love you, Pop. You know that," he'd said before telling the story.

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"It's hard because you've been that guy all your life. I wouldn't have made it [without that happening]. I was on my way out of the league. He sent me to my city. Got me where I want to be."

After an impressive run in H-Town that included a couple of title-winning seasons, Maxwell eventually found his way back to the Spurs to begin the 1996-97 season, where he played in 72 games before signing with the Orlando Magic.

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