An old video has made the rounds today, and Reddit’s excellent r/NBA board first alerted us to the brilliance of the footage. The video features a clip from a 2006 coaching clinic run by cranky Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich. In the sequence captured by the cameras, the grizzled long-time grey and black helmsman introduces himself to the campers involved in a drill he’s running, before telling them he doesn’t really care since he’ll forget their names anyway; except, Pop does so as only Pop can.
After the introductions, and handshakes for all involved, Popovich tells the three impressionable campers, “I’ll forget your names, but I thought it was polite to at least ask…because I don’t really give a s**t what your names are.”
While some moms and dads might cringe at the loose language, NBA fans understand this is Popovich being Popovich. The 65-year-old Air Force Academy graduate shoots from the hip doesn’t hold back his opinion, as many flustered reporters have felt the wrath of his sharp tongue if they aren’t up to snuff in the post-game press conference or during between-quarter sideline interviews.
After finishing up his 18th season this past June by winning his fifth NBA title following the 17th consecutive season he’s won 50 games (his 1998-99 team only played 50 games in the strike-shortened regular season, but would have won at least 50 games if you pro-rate their final 37-13 record), he’s becoming the jocular uncle everyone loves, as long as his ire isn’t directed at us. After so many years, we all understand the sometimes brusque way Popovich does business.
For whatever reason, it almost seems genial when Popovich tells the kids their names aren’t important. Pop can be a jerk, sure, but there’s something inherently commendable about a man unafraid to speak his mind, without sugarcoating the message — even to young basketball players.
What do you think?
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