Posts Tagged ‘Gregg Popovich’

Taboo Topics with Coach Pop

There are certain things you just don't talk about with Gregg Popovich.

There are certain things you just don’t talk about with Gregg Popovich.

ALL BALL NEW JERSEY — Note to all NBA reporters: Gregg Popovich knows nothing about the team you cover, unless that team is the San Antonio Spurs.

Before the Spurs played the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Monday, one Knicks reporter asked Popovich what he thought of New York’s first few games.

The response: “Nothing. I don’t watch film on other people at this point in the season. I don’t even know what I’m doing yet, so it’s kind of a waste of time to watch other people. We’ve got enough work to figure out how we want to play and how we want to put it together. That’s the honest truth.”

When he says “at this point in the season,” he means “in the regular season.” Ask Popovich about the opponent in January or February and you’re likely to get a similar response.


Other NBA teams aren’t the only sports that Popovich doesn’t watch. The World Series ended in rather dramatic fashion on Sunday night, but Pop couldn’t be distracted from one of the few times he gets to have dinner in New York.

“If it’s nighttime, it’s dinner time,” Popovich said in response to a question about Mets pitcher Matt Harvey convincing manager Terry Collins to leave him in the game for the ninth inning of Game 5. “Dinner and wine. No baseball, no football. Sports are boring.”

That brought a few laughs from the media scrum.

“I’m serious,” Popovich continued. “Why would I want to watch a baseball game when I could go to dinner and relax with friends and enjoy.”

Of course, that transitioned into a great story about Manu Ginobili convincing Popovich that he should play at MSG on Monday, instead of sitting out the second game of a day-night back-to-back. And if you ask Popovich about his own players, he’ll usually give you good stuff. On Monday, he provided terrific quotes on integrating LaMarcus Aldridge and David West into the Spurs’ system, about the development of Kawhi Leonard, and about Danny Green being a decent defender, which you couldn’t have foreseen when the Spurs waived him back in 2010.


Still, though Popovich has helped turn Leonard into one of the best two-way players in the league, he may not have watched much of the forward before the Spurs acquired him in the 2011 Draft.

In one of those answers about Leonard’s development, Popovich said this:

“He was basically a big man in college. He didn’t play on the perimeter. When he came, he couldn’t shoot a three until Chip Engelland got a hold of him. So all of this is new to him as a perimeter player, defensively, offensively, his development with some of the moves he has that Chad Forcier works with him on. All of that has been an education for him.”

Asked about that after the game, this was Leonard’s response:

“I don’t think he’s seen me play a lot. I’ve always played on the wing. I don’t think a lot of people watched me play at San Diego State. Just because I averaged 10 rebounds, they thought I was a power forward. I always played on the wing and this is nothing new to me.”

So don’t ask Popovich about college basketball, either.


Oh yeah, there’s one more taboo topic with Popovich. His name is Phil Jackson.

Question: “How do you think Phil did in free agency? He didn’t get the star like LaMarcus, but he got a lot of other pieces…”

Popovich: “I can just top you right there. I don’t evaluate Phil Jackson.”

Question: “Or just how the Knicks did in free agency, and the pieces…”

Popovich: “That would be Phil.”

Everybody knows the San Antonio Spurs’ names

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The classic TV show “Cheers” was set in Boston and featured a familiar cast of characters who frequented the same establishment so often that everybody knew their names. The Spurs may play in San Antonio, but at this point the same crew has been together for so long (along with new additions LaMarcus Aldridge and David West) that everybody knows their names, as we see in this video from Spurs fan site 48 Minutes of Hell….

VIDEO: Spurs Cheers

What if there was an NBA team of NBA coaches?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Plenty of NBA coaches were NBA players before becoming coaches — in the Western Conference Finals, for instance, both Steve Kerr and Kevin McHale are former players. There are also a lot of coaches who never played in the NBA, from Gregg Popovich to Tom Thibodeau.

But what would happen if all the NBA coaches played in the NBA. And not when they were young and in shape, but now, when they are, you know, old?

Well, a few months back someone decided to find out by using NBA 2K, so here are a bunch of coaches playing against the Eastern Conference All-Stars. This is ridiculous, sure, but it’s also hilarious…

VIDEO: Coaches vs. Players

James Harden and Gregg Popovich compare beards

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Houston Rockets played the San Antonio Spurs last night in a game between Western Conference teams with title aspirations. The Spurs won, 110-98, but that didn’t stop James Harden and Gregg Popovich, two hirsute men, from taking a moment to compare not their respective postseason fortunes but instead, their beards.

San Antonio Spurs get a new (weird) theme song

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the most popular recent viral videos was “Too Many Cooks,” from the folks at Adult Swim. The video was a parody of the opening credits of a sitcom, that just went on and on and on. So Caleb Saenz at the Spurs site 48 Minutes Of Hell made his own parody video featuring “Too Many Cooks” set to the faces of plenty of former Spurs. This one is called, “Too Many Pops”…

VIDEO: Too Many Pops

Boris Diaw’s shot pops Gregg Popovich

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — On Saturday night, the San Antonio Spurs hosted the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clips got off to a fast start, and at the half were holding on to a commanding 56-42 lead. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich couldn’t wait to get to the locker room, presumably to start yelling at the Spurs. But Pop started leaving before the clock ticked out, before Boris Diaw had time to hoist a full-court shot that missed the basket but connected with Pop…

A new Gregg Popovich?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Death, taxes and a surly Spurs coach Gregg Popovich during a sideline interview are a few of life’s certainties. So what happened last night during the Spurs/Bulls game when Rachel Nichols had some questions for Pop? He…answered them pleasantly with full sentences!? Who are you and what have you done with Pop?!

VIDEO: Nice Pop?

San Antonio Spurs visit the White House

VIDEO: Spurs White House

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few days ago we saw pictures of the Chicago Bulls taking a tour of the White House. But what we didn’t see was arguably the most important part of the White House: The President. As we noted in that Bulls post, a visit with the president at the White House is traditionally a perk of winning an NBA title. And yesterday, eight months after winning the 2014 NBA title championship, while in town to face the Washington Wizards, the Spurs spent the afternoon at the White House.

After praising the Spurs for overcoming their age and making themselves one of the league’s most exciting teams, President Obama told the Spurs, “If you guys need any tips on winning back to back, you know where to find me.”

VIDEO: Spurs White House 2


A photo posted by San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) on

A photo posted by San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) on

Good visit at the white house today, i look like i know what i am talking about

A photo posted by Borisdiaw (@diawboris) on

What more could I ask for… Great day meeting the president of the United States 🇺🇸

A photo posted by Austin Daye (@adfiv5) on

A photo posted by Austin Daye (@adfiv5) on

Are the San Antonio Spurs actually a special forces squad?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The San Antonio Spurs are often criticized for having no personality, for being boring, for playing a style of basketball that doesn’t command big ratings.

But what if it was all just a cover? What if in actuality the Spurs were a precision special forces team that only played boring basketball to throw people off their trail? That is the question asked, and answered, in the hilarious video below…

VIDEO: Spurs Forces

MUSCLEWATCH 2014 (Update 2)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s a Friday in the fall, which means it’s time for…wait for it…MUSCLEWATCH!

What, you may ask, is MUSCLEWATCH? I really hope by now you’re not still asking that question. But basically, it stems from my friend Matt and I noticing years ago that our local paper would always report that players had gained 15 pounds of MUSCLE in the offseason. No matter the sport, it was never 12, never 16, never 9, never 18, always 15 pounds of muscle. So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of MUSCLE. I started chronicling this each season in my blog over at SLAM, and eventually MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the 15 pounds of muscle and more about guys who had either gained or lost a lot of weight. Previous winners include Thad Young and Rudy Gay.

If you see MUSCLEWATCH info, please tweet it and use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH to help us keep all this info straight.

One question I saw on Twitter that’s worth addressing…

No. Despite my best efforts, it’s impossible to tabulate a precise number. Has anyone counted all the stars in the sky? Do we know how many broken dreams line Broadway? No, no we don’t. It’s better to just understand that there are thousands if not millions of pounds won and lost out there and keep it moving.

WHEN WE LAST LEFT MUSCLEWATCH, there was a lot of sound and fury and MUSCLE, but not a lot of detail. Let’s get into the MUSCLE…

• Once again, actual NBA teams are using the #MUSCLEWATCH hashtag, as we saw in this tweet from the Toronto Raptors regarding Terrence Ross

That tweet was welcome, if a bit vague, so we also appreciate this clarification from Holly McKenzie, from which we learn Ross actually put on the MUSCLEWATCH gold standard of 15 pounds…

HOWEVER! Nobody actually specified if it’s 15 pounds of MUSCLE. And it matters, believe me, it matters.

• Last week we saw a few MUSCLEWATCH names in Minnesota, and we get more detail this, as Anthony Bennett, Ronny Turiaf and Shabazz Muhammad got into some, frankly, really weird workout stuff. Just read the beginning of this story

The children are slipping down Shabazz Muhammad’s back, inches away from falling into a pit of whitewater rapids and fire.
As Muhammad gropes for another handhold, his entire weight and an additional 100 pounds of helpless youth suspended above the perils below, he falters. A pair of guiding hands help steady him but only for a moment. Regaining his balance and summoning some interior-laden surge of strength, he climbs his way to safety while the kids on his back remain unharmed.

They worked out using HELPLESS YOUTH! Children were SLIPPING DOWN HIS BACK INTO A DEATH TRAP WHIRLPOOL! OK, OK, this was all imaginary, but still, this is extreme MUSCLEWATCH. No wonder they call their guy Hell’s Trainer.

Despite the insane workout, Muhammad said he came into camp at 224, which is two pounds more than he supposedly weighed a year ago before the draft. And Bennett, according to the story above, lost “about 10 pounds.” So while they each may be in much better shape, for MUSCLEWATCH purposes they still have some work to do.

Kobe Bryant has had a love-hate relationship with MUSCLEWATCH through the years, and this year is no different. A few months ago, paparazzi photos seemed to suggest that Kobe had put on, well, a few pounds. But then Kobe showed up in camp looking svelte, and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak suggested Kobe had lost 10-12 pounds.

How did Kobe do it? By eating “clean.”

I guess that means a lot of hand washing?

• We need to send a shoutout to Utah Jazz beat writer Jody Genessy from the Deseret News, who has been all over MUSCLEWATCH, including several tweets…

And since we’re talking Jazz, we’ve had our first-ever announcer appearance on MUSCLEWATCH, as Jazz radio voice David Locke was reported to be in phenomenal shape…

I caught up with David this week and he confirmed that he is feeling good, although he noted that once the season begins his bicycling regimen will likely fall by the wayside. Still, a terrific showing all around in Utah. We salute you!

• Bonjour, Monsieur Diaw! Spurs forward Boris Diaw has had some ups and downs with his weight through the years. At Spurs media day this season, coach Gregg Popovich acknowledged Diaw’s struggle…

Boris used social media to respond, as one should, with the following photo and this caption: “No worries pop only one glass of wine and daily workouts!”

No worries pop only one glass of wine and daily workouts!

A photo posted by Borisdiaw (@diawboris) on

Also, thanks to the San Antonio Express News, which put together a 117-photo gallery about which players are and are not arriving in shape in San Antonio.

• WE HAVE A CONTENDER! Add Kendrick Perkins to the long list of guys who have dropped weight this summer, and with Perk, unlike with LeBron and Melo, we actually have a concrete number…

• Up in Boston, Celtics forward Jeff Green has put on some MUSCLE…

And Kelly Olynyk is “definitely stonger,” with a #MUSCLEWATCH in the story!!

• And finally, in Phoenix, Alex Len has apparently added “10-15 pounds.” Of MUSCLE? Well, that’s unclear.

See you next week. Keep MUSCLING!