When it comes right down to it, San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich remains one of the best coaches in the NBA. From guiding the franchise to four NBA titles to consistently having the Spurs as a perennial title contender, Pop gets the best from his roster.
However, Pop isn't just a coach. He is a teacher, a mentor, a role model and a great sportsman for the league. Something former NBA great Kareem Abdul Jabbar finds admirable about Popovich which is why he cast his vote for Pop for SI's Sportsman of the Year.
So when asked who I feel best embodies the characteristics of a Sportsman this year — a person whose presence has had a distinct impact in sports and beyond — I thought of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. Popovich is a fine example of what the award represents. He is a great teacher of the game and has been a phenomenal competitor in the coaching ranks. Throughout his career he has racked up an impressive four NBA championship titles, among other accolades. I think that the leadership Popovich has shown is a great example of consistency over a long period of time within the sport. The fact that the Spurs are one of the best-coached teams in the league is a testament to Popovich's consistency, talent and ability to manage his players. While there are numerous coaches who deserve to be recognized for their work on the sidelines, Popovich stands out because he has been able to get the most from his players on a consistent basis.