Over the years, San Antonio Spurs' head coach Gregg Popovich has grown quite infamous for his terse interviews and cantankerous personality. With the Spurs' recent Finals appearance, Popovich's notoriety is becoming a recurring trend in pieces written by pundits from all over the NBA. These pieces, though, may actually shed a different light on the man we know as Gregg Popovich.
It's hard to imagine coach Pop having a family, outside of Manu, Timmy, and Tony, that is. Earlier this summer, Buck Harvey over at San Antonio Express News wrote a piece about Pop's family, a topic we seldom hear about. I strongly recommend checking Harvey's work out, if for only the fact that it offers an inside look into the Popovich family.
His daughter, Jill, told him something similar this summer. With a personality she clearly gets from her father, she said:
"OK, Dad, let me get this straight: You won four championships, and you go to a fifth Finals. 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."
He stared at her - then started laughing. Hadn't his daughter told him the same get-over-yourself line he's told so many others?
Pop also, of course, has his Spurs' family. ESPN recently published an article on the mentality of the Spurs heading into next season. What separates Popovich from most other professional sports coaches is his ability to develop strong relationships with players, as poor as they may start (like with Tony Parker). This article is worth looking into so that you can see the reactions of Spurs players, and their thoughts on next season.
Popovich was proud of his players, but jokingly said he wasn't going to take it easy on Parker during training camp even though his All-Star point guard spent most of the offseason playing for France's national team.
"No, what does he make, like $200 million a year?" Popovich said with a wry smile.
Still, the jovial mood didn't quite hide the disappointment he said he continues to feel. A former player and assistant coach with the Air Force Academy, Popovich said holding training camp in a new environment should quicken the team bonding.
"It's going to be a lot of fun, just to do something different," Popovich said. "Take them to altitude, take them to mountains; get them away from everything. It will help the coaches. And look at the players that have been here for a while, it will be good for them to meet the new coaches. We've got some new players in camp, so it's a good camaraderie thing."
Popovich is a family man, a screamer, and just about every other type of person imaginable. He's a man of mystery and you never know what you're going to get from him in an interview. Occasionally, some are greeted with a friendly response (footage not found), while most others are not so fortunate. During the NBA Finals, Jon Krawczynski at The Big Three did an excellent job of determining and quoting Pop's different personalities. This, obviously, includes the combative Pop.
THE COMBATIVE POP: When the Heat went small and won big in Game 4, a reporter wanted to know if Popovich thought smaller lineups were a growing trend across the NBA. Nice try.
"You're not serious," he said. "You want me to talk about the state of the NBA?"
So, what do you guys think of these articles? Is Pop an international man of mystery or a jerk for some coaching decisions at the end of the NBA Finals? What do you think his mindset is heading into next season?