Gregg Popovich is simply the best coach in basketball.
But he comes with inherent contradictions — he is both the curmudgeonly guy who has no use for Craig Sager between quarters and the guy players love and would run through a wall for. He is the guy who was perfectly happy coaching at no-scholarship, below D-III Pomona-Pitzer (where he recruited current lead assistant Mike Budenholzer) and the guy who is the head coach of the amazing Spurs dynasty.
If you read one thing today, it should be the fantastic Popovich profile by Joe Posnanski here at NBCSports.com. (If you think I’m promoting this just because I want to make my bosses happy, you don’t know me very well.)
Posnanski gets into all of it.
“Pop is first and foremost, a salt-of-the-earth good guy,” says Danny Ferry, who played for Pop, worked with Pop and is now GM of the Atlanta Hawks.
Yes, it begins there. People just like Pop. They can’t help it. Announcers who get little access and information still like Pop. Reporters he crushes with sarcasm still like Pop. Players he screams at or cuts down with biting remarks still like Pop. It is uncanny. “He has the best demeanor of any coach,” Kansas coach Bill Self says in deep admiration. “The absolute best.”
In a world of snippets of information without context, Posnanski is an antidote with fantastic long profiles and storytelling.
Trust me, just go read the whole thing. You’ll be happy you did. (And you can make my bosses happier in the process.)