When Gregg Popovich was younger, and winning NBA championships regularly as coach with the San Antonio Spurs, his personal brand came off as “testy and condescending with a hint of elitism, grumpiness, and impatience.”
Now, at the not so spry age of 72, with his Spurs being mediocre at best the past few seasons, his brand feels a little outdated, and skews more towards “get off my lawn guy,” with an ample amount of political activism and crankiness thrown in.”
I will say this though, the long, white-haired version of Pop never shies away from controversy or a good sound byte.
After Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifted literally every COVID-19 restriction Tuesday, including mask mandates, social distancing and bringing back all businesses to 100% capacity, the clock was ticking to see when Popovic would chime in.
It happened Tuesday night, as he called the move by the Governor of his state “ignorant.” He also referred to it as a “mystifying decision.”
The coach also said he answers to a higher calling, and does not take orders from the leader of his state. “As far as the players go, we listen to the NBA, not the governor.”
Popovich is an intelligent, well read, deep-thinking coach that truly is socially conscious, and not afraid to make statements that may not be well received. He thinks the decision by Abbott is simply too much, too soon, when there are still thousands of Texans contracting COVID-19.
“It puts a lot of businesses in a tough spot. They’re trying to do a good job of keeping everybody safe. Of course they want to open up. But getting rid of masks just seems ignorant to me. We have to have instant gratification and act like the pandemic is over? We already went through this once, and now we’re going to do it again?”
The Spurs are actually playing very well this year and have a 18-13 record heading into the All-Star break. Abbott’s decree might allow more fans in San Antonio to be able to watch Popovich’s team play in person.