As San Antonio Spurs fans, we know we have a unique coach. Coach Gregg Popovich can be a very light hearted soul during an interview after practice or a loud (sometimes with language not suitable for “family television”) disciplinarian coach when an obvious defensive rotation is missed during a game. We know what we're going to get from him even if we haven't had a conversation with the man. He's the same guy during practice, during games, and off the basketball court. Spurs combo guard Gary Neal shows Coach Pop some love in an interview with HoopsAddict.com:
McNeill: “What has coach Pop meant to you?”
Neal: “Coach Pop has been great for me. He's consistent. He's honest. I think in this profession if you can get a head coach who can be those two things and still, you know, be able to be approachable off the court as he is, I think those are the three great qualities in a head coach in Coach Popovich.”
Those are qualities we knew Pop had, but it's great being reaffirmed of them. We know Coach Pop may arguably be the most honest and blunt coach out there. That's a quality that may have scared a lot of free agents away from playing in a silver and black uniform because he's a guy who usually tells it how it is and not promising a starting job or playing time to free agents like other clubs do (sometimes at the cost of team chemistry and winning games). That's one of the qualities that also gets him the love and admiration from his players. He's not only honest to his team, but he's also consistent like Neal points out.
Popovich treats all his players the same, even his superstars. It's widely known that Coach Pop treats his franchise's cornerstone and superstar, Tim Duncan, the same as the last guy on the bench. That's something rarely done successfully by a coach (unless they're asking for a pink slip). It's Pop's character that shines through the team in a “team is everything” mentality and everyone is treated equally and held accountable for what they can do. The Spurs have the NBA's only successful Big 3 that were drafted by their original team and you can give Pop credit for their maturity through the years and their success. So next time when the Spurs are playing in a nationally televised game and you're hearing a Coach Pop interview at the end of a quarter or a “Wired” segment during a timeout, remember how unique our coach is and how there's none other in the league that comes close to it, especially since there hasn't a coach that's been this blunt on motivating his team.