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Gregg Popovich on Social Issues Surrounding NBA

June 10, 2014
Coach Popovich on the sidelines

Coach Popovich on the sideline

As the national spotlight returns to San Antonio for the 2014 NBA Finals, the political mag The Progressive took a brief look at the “politics of Pop” in their May issue. Writer Dave Zirin recalls a 2011 encounter with Popovich at a book promotion for John Carlos, the track and field star who raised the Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics with Tommie Smith. When Zirin addressed Popovich, stating that the man next to Carlos was renowned activist Cornel West, Pop replied, “I know who Cornel West is, I do have a life you know.”

Perhaps it’s an extension of his no-bullshit stance with the hype circus of NBA media, but time and time again, Greg Popovich has proven himself adept, keenly aware and characteristically curt on the social issues surrounding the league.

When NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced a lifetime ban for LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, Popovich said, “I thought it was absolutely appropriate and done in a really heartfelt manner.  It was fantastic. I think we can [focus on the playoffs] because the league and Adam were so prompt in doing the work they needed to do. I’m sure that was not easy, and, of course, the sanctions that were given were quite appropriate and hit the mark.”

Last year, when forward Jason Collins came out as the first active professional sports player, Popovich said, “Everybody’s got their own business. [In] today’s day and age, it’s too bad it has to be such an amazing thing for everybody to talk about. It’s nobody’s business. I could care less if somebody’s gay or not gay. It’s personal choices. He’s no different than anybody else to me.”

 

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