Popovich's Great Answer About Winning an NBA Championship
For more than a decade now, the San Antonio Spurs have been one of the best and classiest organizations in the National Basketball Association (NBA). A great deal of the team's success can be attributed to their head coach, Gregg Popovich. Now in his 20th season with the organization, Popovich holds the distinction of being the longest tenured active coach in all US major sports leagues.
But if you're not familiar with Popovich's compelling case as an NBA legend, let me catch you up.
Popovich's Record as a Coach
In his 20 years as head coach, Popovich has a record of 1089-485 through the 2015-2016 season, for an amazing winning percentage of .692. In the process, he has led the Spurs to five NBA Championships (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014) and been named Coach of the Year on three different occasions (2003, 2012, 2014). These are astonishing achievements for a man whose only other head coaching experience came with Division III Pomona-Pitzer from 1979-1988.
Wisdom Makes a Difference
When contemplating the reasons for Popovich's success, one would certainly have to consider the quality of the players he has had the privilege of coaching. The list includes player like Hall of Fame center David Robinson, plus future Hall of Famers Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. As good as those players were, there seems to be little doubt that Popovich has been the glue that holds the team together.
Many of the NBA insiders who know him best will tell anyone that the secret to his success is his wisdom and ability to motivate players to give their very best night in and night out. His teams are disciplined and well prepared each and every time they hit the hardwood. Even more impressive than his leadership as a coach is his ability to represent the organization as a man with integrity and high moral fiber.
Gregg Popovich, the man, coach, and NBA legend
At a recent speaking engagement at the Carver Community Center in San Antonio, Popovich was speaking on a panel with Harvard professor Cornel West. As they took turns answering questions from about 250 local high school students, one young man stepped up and asked the coach if he thought his team would win the NBA Championship this season. In a style that is very specific to Popovich, this was his very special answer:
“Win the championship? I don’t know, but it’s not a priority in my life. I’d be much happier if I knew that my players were going to make society better, who had good families and who took care of the people around them. I’d get more satisfaction out of that than a title.”
To a crowd riveted to its seat, he would add something even better:
“I would love to win another championship, and we’ll work our butts off to try and do that. But we have to want more than success in our jobs. That’s why we’re here. We’re here so you’ll understand that you can overcome obstacles by being prepared and if you educate the hell out of yourself. If you become respectful, disciplined people in this world, you can fight anything. If you join with each other and you believe in yourself and each other, that’s what matters. That’s what we want to relay to you all: that we believe that about you or we wouldn’t be here.”
It's not reflected anywhere in sports, even according to sports betting site reviews, but at that moment in time, Popovich reminded everyone one in the crowd that sports and competition are important. However, he also reminded them that nothing is more important than being a solid citizen who loves their family, country, and friends. The quality of the man and his teams is why sports book list them among the favorites to win the NBA championship year after year.