Friday, Civil Rights hero and congressman John Lewis passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 80.
On Sunday, prior to addressing questions about the San Antonio Spurs’ first upcoming scrimmage game on Thursday, Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich discussed the passing of Lewis and a brave decision one of his own players made earlier this summer.
“He’s someone who we all knew of, I mean, I didn’t know him personally,” said Popovich of Lewis. “Of course, he’s been such an iconic figure for so long, it’s hard not to feel the loss of somebody who’s been so important for our country. He’s a rare combination of an abundance of courage and at the same time, amazing humility.”
“Nothing was ever about him, it was always about the work that he wanted to do in trying to make this nation live up to its promises and that I always thought was really special about him.”
“He was always hopeful, he was always ready for the fight in a good way and pushed America, he pushed the white privilege. Kind of ironic, the white privilege and white supremacy kept those promises from being fully realized and he who’s downtrodden, made sure that he never gave up and he continued to push this country in the right direction.”
“So, he, along with many others obviously, he was one of those special people that now that he is gone, you really feel an absence, an absence of decency, an absence of righteous effort for justice, for everybody and hopefully we can move on in a way that honors what he did his whole life. The opposite of what’s going on now with the gutting of the voting rights act. So all those politicians who are praising Congressman Lewis – on the one hand are the same people who are willing to gut the voting rights act that he worked so hard for. That I think is disgusting.”
After his reaction to the passing of Congressman Lewis, Popovich was asked about the decision shooting guard Lonnie Walker IV made this summer, when he revealed publicly of being abused as a child and how he now wants to be role model for others dealing with similar situations.
“I felt for him and I was proud of him,” said Popovich of Walker IV. “Those are very difficult issues to speak about as we all know.”
“He had the courage to do that and he’s moving forward in a really positive way and we’re all of course going to support him in any way that we can.”
As for the Spurs’ first upcoming scrimmage game that will take place Thursday against the Milwaukee Bucks, Popovich said the team will be using the scrimmages like practices.
“It’s just another practice,” said Popovich of the scrimmage against the Bucks. “It’ll just be another day as we move forward for the regular eight games.”
“I think as a team we’re excited,” said Walker IV of upcoming first scrimmage game Thursday. Walker IV also added “the levels of intensity felt different” in the 5-on-5 practices the Spurs have been having since arriving in Orlando.
Asked who has stood out on the team, Walker IV said rookie Quinndary Weatherspoon.
“He’s doing a terrific job on both sides of the court,” said Walker IV of Weatherspoon.