The estimable former President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton, took in the local Tex-Mex cuisine in San Antonio recently during a pow-wow with the biggest movers and shakers in the city. Mayor Julian Castro was in attendance, obviously, as was former mayor and Clinton cabinet member Henry Cisneros. The only man at the meal that wasn’t a politician, was Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. To be a fly on the wall at this meal would have been awesome.
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) February 26, 2014
— Mi Tierra Cafe (@Mi_Tierra_Cafe) February 26, 2014
A well-known secret among NBA heads is how erudite and charismatic Popovich can be if he feels like it. Sure, he’s gonna mess with sideline reporters because he feels the NBA’s in-game interview mandate is stupid and impinges on his ability to coach effectively during the game. We agree, though we don’t mind since Popovich’s grumpiness gives us a lot of entertainment.
But if you can hold your own in a conversation with Slick Willy, then you’ve got charm coming out of your ears. Did you know Pop was thinking about joining the CIA before getting involved with the basketball team at the Air Force Academy? He speaks fluent Russian (his undergrad degree at Air Force was in Soviet studies â€” so mention the Notes From the Underground with him if you get a chance), and the Spurs are such a pastiche of players from all around the world, you just know he’s got a coterie of little phrases and snippets of dialogue for all those players without a firm grasp on English yet.
Basically, he’s the perfect lunch companion, which is why Clinton probably invited him in the first place. Still, it’s strange to see Pop hobnobbing with Clinton when – on the surface, at least â€” they seem like such diametrically different personalities.
What do you think they’re talking about?
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerTyrel.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.