This past week, the San Antonio Spurs basketball team set a record for the longest consecutive streak of winning seasons in NBA history, its 21st in a row. All of them have been accomplished under coach Gregg Popovich, the longest-tenured active coach not only in pro basketball but in all U.S. major league sports.
So when Coach Pop, as he is known, speaks, it pays to listen – and not just what he has to say about sports.
Popovich is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and served in the Air Force before leaving for a legendary career in coaching, so he also has outspoken views on America and its current political leadership.
Especially about President Trump.
Back in October, Popovich called Trump “a pathological liar” who is “unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold (his high) office.”
So “Pop,” as he is also frequently called, did not hold back when asked over the weekend by a sportswriter what he thought about the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C, where hundreds of thousands led by teenage survivors from Parkland, Florida demanded an end to gun violence and passage of sensible gun control laws.
Popovich made clear he was disgusted by Trump’s failure to properly recognize the marchers, their worthy cause and the need for laws to curb gun violence.
“A real leader would have been in Washington D.C. this weekend, not at his penthouse at Mar-a-Lago,” said Popovich.
“He would have had the decency to meet with a group, to see what’s going on, and how important it is,” continued Popovich, “and how important our children should be to us. So for all those politicians involved, it’s just a dereliction of duty.”
“They can talk about the age limit, and background checks and all that, but the real discussion is what kind of a country, what kind of a culture do we want?” added Popovich.
“The fact that our president left town,” spat out Popovich, “is a real indication of how much he really cares about anything other than feeding his insatiable ego. “
Popovich referred to what the victims at Marjory Stoneman-Douglas High School must have suffered as he took serious issue with both of Trump’s lack of human decency and his lies.
“If you just sit for a moment and imagine those bullets going through those bodies, and what those bodies might have looked like afterwards,” lamented Popovich, “how can the president of the country talk about all the things he’s going to do, and then go have lunch with the NRA and change it?”
Popovich may be a basketball coach, but he is also the kind of citizen who understands what America needs to be, and recognizes Trump is not the kind of leader who will make it happen.
Many sports figures are afraid to speak out for fear of being criticized, or attacked in the media and on social media – especially in a right-leaning state like Texas – but Popovich is a man who lives the courage of his convictions and whether it is sports, politics or life, it is a good idea to take heed of what he has to say.
Too bad Trump is so full of himself he will never hear or understand what Coach Pop has to teach him.