In a little over 36 hours, Gregg Popovich will finally, officially be a Hall of Fame coach. While he will always be known as an old curmudgeon who doesn’t take jack from anybody and notoriously dislikes media attention, he also has his humorous side. In light of Pop’s enshrinement, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at his funnier moments, from pranking players on the floor, to harassing his interviewee on the sidelines, and sometimes without even trying to be funny.
One of his most famous and meme-able interviews came from his “Nobody’s happy” sideline interview with David Aldridge. Lesson learned about asking Pop about anything “happy”.
Here’s one where he can’t believe he has to do the interview in the preseason, inserting his rule of only allowing two questions. Many of his best moments came with the late, great Craig Sager.
Knowing Pop’s tendency for cantankerous answers and making reporters uncomfortable, Charles Barkley tried his luck, and while he actually got two answers out of Pop, he got the lecture for breaking the golden rule and trying to slip in a third.
In fact, it might be easiest to just watch a “Best of Pop interviews” video because there’s too many of them to count.
Pop could also be funny outside of interviews and was never above having a little fun at the expense of others. Here he his pranking Shaquille O’Neal (and to an extent, the league) with Hack-a-Shaq on the first play of the 2008-09 season after he had used the tactic in the first round of the playoffs a few months prior, to much criticism. Biggest Pop smile ever?
Or maybe his biggest smile came courtesy of Manu Ginobili channeling his inner Pop with two-word answer when asked about him following the 2014 Western Conference Finals.
There were also times when Pop was not-so-tough. Back when Joffrey Lauvergne dislocated his finger (which was not funny), the video went viral, in part because of Pop’s reaction. He admitted after the game that he couldn’t look at it because he’s a “wiener”.
Finally, and perhaps most relevant to Saturday’s activities, here is he is becoming the winningest coach of all time in 2022 but not wanting anything to do the celebration. He tries to slip out before the players surround him and make him enjoy the moment before he eventually shoves his way through. Then, back in the looker room after the players douse him with water, he threatens to make them run suicides at the next shootaround.
Maybe Pop didn’t want to celebrate then, but he will have no choice but to relish the moment a smile a bit on Saturday, and maybe even shed a tear along with the rest of us.
Obviously we came nowhere near capturing all of Pop’s funniest moments, so what are some of your favorite Pop moments? Feel free to add more in the comments below!