Whether it's the number of championships or years on his extension, there's no denying that when Gregg Popovich counts, people listen. During the river parade celebration for the Spurs' fifth title, Popovich (in)famously counted the team's championships, hamming it up as he pretended to lose count. It was a refreshing moment of levity from a man whose unparalleled success is often associated with mechanical efficiency or even grumpy determination. But as anyone will tell you, there's a great deal of history behind those numbers.
I was reminded of this as people were referencing Pop's gag after the news of his contract extension with the Spurs. In classic Spurs fashion, no details were disclosed, but it's hard to imagine that the conversation was a long one. When Popovich decides on something, it's a done deal. He had already earned that before the 2014 Finals, and a fifth title has only cemented his status as "untouchable" with the franchise. The news was greeted with smiles and even relief, with many pointing out that his extension and the Spurs' cap space next summer speak quite a bit to prospective big name free agents.
This was very likely a short, quiet, and peaceful negotiation as Popovich laid out his plan to coach for a few more seasons, but don't let the serenity of his goofy smile fool you. Make no mistake: when Popovich counts, it's usually as he turns to face the scorched earth trail he's left behind. I made this GIF to illustrate that point.