12 Videos of Gregg Popovich Being Awesome

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2014

12 Videos of Gregg Popovich Being Awesome

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    He is one of the most accomplished coaches in NBA history, but San Antonio Spurs head man Gregg Popovich is also one of the most entertaining.

    Though surly, Pop does provide some amazing moments that leave sports fans either laughing or shaking their heads in shock.

    And whether you're a Spurs fan or not, here are a few instances of Popovich epitomizing the word "awesome."

Praising Tony Parker

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    If you want to know what makes a great head coach and leader, look no further than this example from Game 3 of this year's NBA Finals.

    As the Spurs were in the process of wrapping up a blowout win against the Heat in Miami, Popovich pulled aside point guard Tony Parker to tell him just how great he played in the game.

    Typically one of Parker's harshest critics, Pop seems to balance the sarcastic comments with praise to encourage, and not discourage, his players.

Praising Manu Ginobili

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    Along the same lines of his praise toward Tony Parker, Popovich made sure he gave some love for his future Hall of Fame shooting guard Manu Ginobili, too.

    When asked why he thought Ginobili could have success following a miserable first half in a game against the LA Lakers a few years ago, Pop looked dead into Ric Bucher's eyes and replied, "Because he's Manu Ginobili" before awkwardly walking away without anything more to say.

    Classic Pop.

Helping a Young Reporter

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    Here's a little secret—when you're a media relations intern assigned to get quotes from players and coaches, you're basically a glorified mic stand who is sent to hold a recorder to capture answers from "real" reporters' questions.

    Never, typically, are you supposed to be the one asking things.

    So when Pop blatantly put a young kid on the spot to see what he wanted to ask the four-time title-winning coach, it was definitely cool to see—while Pop also poked fun at said real reporters at the same time.

On Mark Cuban

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    Unless you've been living under a rock for the past decade, you understand that there's more than just a small rivalry between the Dallas Mavericks and Pop's Spurs.

    And after Mark Cuban openly said that he hated the Spurs back during the 2010 playoffs, Popovich quickly refuted the statement, saying he wasn't so sure considering Cuban hooks San Antonio up with such great barbecue in the locker room.

    In his typical fashion, he then goes on to give a short answer to the follow-up question, leaving everyone around him intimidated and uncomfortable.

Hack-a-Shaq

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    For those who remember, the Hack-a-Shaq strategy to foul former center Shaquille O'Neal was one of many that Popovich was popular for using to help slow down the big fella.

    And after a playoff matchup the previous season that saw the Spurs beat the Phoenix Suns in five games, Pop implemented the ploy just five seconds into the first game of the season, instantly drawing a smile from O'Neal and giving two thumbs up, showing that he also has a pretty good sense of humor.

On Defending LeBron James

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    What's the secret of Gregg Popovich's defense against the greatest player on the planet, LeBron James?

    When asked that very question during this year's Finals, he answers it the only way Pop can—honestly and bluntly.

    I really hope that ESPN ups the pay of Doris Burke each time she speaks with Pop, because she does an incredible job of dealing with his personality and sarcasm.

Nobody's Happy

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    The words "happy" and "Gregg Popovich" probably aren't spoken too often in the same sentence.

    So when he was asked by David Aldridge about how happy he was with the shot selection during a game—even though the ball didn't go in—he didn't hesitate to let him know that that specific word never creeps into his mind.

    Makes you wonder if he ever recognizes someone on their birthday with a "happy birthday," doesn't it?

Jokes on Jokes on Jokes

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    Any time Popovich shows his funny side, you have to appreciate it.

    That's what he did during this year's Western Conference Finals, joking that Manu Ginobili would either "be fine, or he'll be out the rest of the playoffs"—and this came after his team lost.

    Following that up by admitting that one should have fun regardless of outcome, Pop has somehow kept things lighthearted to keep his team loose.

Hack-a-Splitter

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    As I pointed out earlier with the Hack-a-Shaq strategy that Pop used on Shaquille O'Neal, when the tables were turned on him during the 2012 postseason by Scott Brooks and the OKC Thunder on Tiago Splitter, he not only applauded it but naturally joked about it.

    Teasing reporters that he thought it was unsportsmanlike and that he would never do it, Pop showed, once again, that once the outcome is determined, it's onto the next one.

Turnovers

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    Is there an echo in the room?

    You have to admire a guy who sticks to his guns and will tell you exactly what he thinks.

    When asked two separate questions by Doris Burke during last season's playoffs, Pop didn't need a dictionary to expand his vocabulary, sticking to just one word to answer both—"turnovers."

    Somehow, this reminds me of the classic rant by former Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Mora.

"You're Serious?"

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    Responding to a reporter's question about how he can explain this year's Western Conference Finals against the OKC Thunder in which the first five games were all blowouts, Pop absolutely belittles the guy.

    With a simple "You're serious?" before sarcastically asking that they pay him for such questions, Pop again showed just how unfiltered he can be when hearing something he doesn't find too amusing.

His Well Wishes to Craig Sager

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    As you can probably tell with most of these videos, Popovich has had quite the memorable experiences while being interviewed by sideline reporter Craig Sager.

    And while the two are often looked at as the Tom and Jerry of in-game interviews—with Sager trying to chase down the best from Pop—seeing the Spurs coach send his well wishes to a cancer-battling Sager while being interviewed by Craig's son was especially cool.