Gregg Popovich rarely wants any attention. But on Friday night, he got all of it.
The San Antonio Spurs scored 40 points in the fourth quarter to take down the Utah Jazz at home, 104-102. Dejounte Murray led the way with 27 points (15 of which came in the final period), nine rebounds, four assists and five steals.
But most importantly, the victory was the 1,336th of Popovich’s career, breaking the NBA’s all-time record. After the game, Popovich met with Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, who congratulated him on the achievement. Murray wrapped his arms around Pop and did the same.
As photographers began to swarm the sideline, Popovich’s natural instinct to step out of the spotlight kicked in. He took a few steps toward the exit, but was stopped by former Spur Rudy Gay. Juancho Hernangomez did the same.
When Pop turned around again, the entire San Antonio roster had surrounded him. They weren’t letting him leave without enjoying the moment on the AT&T Center floor. The head coach had to muscle his way through a mosh pit before giving one more hug to David Robinson and finally exiting the camera’s view.
The moment history was made.— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) March 12, 2022
Couldn't let Coach Pop leave the court without a celebration! pic.twitter.com/eL9Td1Sr00
Don Nelson, now the NBA’s all-time second-winningest coach who Popovich worked for as an assistant with the Warriors from 1992-94, made a tribute video commending his successor. Steve Kerr, Golden State’s current head coach who played for Popovich in San Antonio from 1998-2001 and 2002-03, did the same.
Handing off the all-time wins crown— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) March 12, 2022
Hoops legend and long-time friend Don Nelson salutes Coach Pop for passing him on the historic list pic.twitter.com/zRCCXY76x7
The Spurs weren’t done celebrating after they got to the locker room. They drenched the head coach with water bottles before he had a chance to sneak off again. Popovich hated it.
And in true Popovich fashion, he made the moment about more than himself. He thanked everyone who’s been a part of his journey on his way to cementing his legacy as the ultimate winner. And to commemorate the occasion, he set up an NFT fundraiser with 100% of the proceeds benefitting the San Antonio Food Bank
Each NFT from the 1336 Collection will be featured against a backdrop of the different courts we’ve played on during Coach Pop’s tenure!— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) March 12, 2022
5 purchasers of the 1-of-1 auctioned editions will also receive the physical autographed versions of the play cards ➡️ https://t.co/WOoI1QseOl pic.twitter.com/Ep6fGTjUjA
San Antonio plays again on Saturday, hosting the Indiana Pacers at 7 p.m. You can catch the full game highlights from Friday below: