Gregg Popovich gave a terrific answer to a kid who asked if the Spurs would win a title
By Tim Cato
The Spurs coach turned a question about his team’s championship hopes into an impassioned answer about hoping his players have great families and improve society.
Gregg Popovich always stresses putting basketball in its proper perspective. It’s just a game, and even though his livelihood depends on it, Popovich is quick to point out there’s many things more important than it.
Last month, Harvard professor Cornel West and Popovich answered questions from 250 students in attendance from Sam Houston High School. The two-hour discussion was moderated by Dave Zirin, who wrote about the experience in depth for The Nation.
Zirin says Popovich answered questions from basketball to the recent presidential election, something Popovich has spoken about several times while speaking to NBA reporters. When Popovich was asked if the Spurs were going to win a championship, this answer naturally stood out.
“Win the championship? I don’t know, but it’s not a priority in my life. I’d be much happier if I knew that my players were going to make society better, who had good families and who took care of the people around them. I’d get more satisfaction out of that than a title. I would love to win another championship, and we’ll work our butts off to try and do that. But we have to want more than success in our jobs. That’s why we’re here. We’re here so you’ll understand that you can overcome obstacles by being prepared and if you educate the hell out of yourself. If you become respectful, disciplined people in this world, you can fight anything. If you join with each other and you believe in yourself and each other, that’s what matters. That’s what we want to relay to you all: that we believe that about you or we wouldn’t be here.”
It’s an answer that makes much more sense in that context, with Popovich and Cornel West attempting to impart a stronger message to the high school students there. Zirin said members of the Spurs organization were also in attendance, including players, coaches, and people who work for both basketball and business operations.
You can read more of what Popovich and West said in the article here.