NBA's Gregg Popovich: 'We Live in a Racist Country'

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. (Tony Dejak / AP)

Gregg Popovich is one of the most honest–and gutsiest—sports figures of all time. The head coach of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs has never been afraid to school America with straight truth, no chaser.

This week, Popovich did it again when a reporter asked why it’s important for the NBA to celebrate Black History Month.

“I think it’s pretty obvious,” Popovich responded. “The league is made up of a lot of black guys. To honor that and understand it is pretty simplistic. How would you ignore that? But more importantly, we live in a racist country that hasn’t figured it out yet. And it’s always important to bring attention to it, even if it angers some people. The point is, you have to keep it in front of everybody’s nose so they understand it still hasn’t been taken care of and we have a lot of work to do.”


Popovich graduated from the Air Force Academy, served five years of required active duty and does not suffer fools gladly. Since Donald Trump became president of the United States, Popopvich has not been a fan of the direction our country is going, citing Trump’s “disgusting tenor and tone and all the comments that have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic.”

Last October, after four U.S. soldiers died in an ambush in Niger, Trump sparked a controversy by not calling their families, explaining, “President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it.”

Popovich had a few words about Trump:

This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner—and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers—is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office, and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this president should be ashamed, because they know better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.

At the end of last year, when Popovich was asked about why donating to charities is important, he said, “Because we are rich as hell and we don’t need it all, and other people need it. And you are an ass if you don’t give it. Pretty simple.”

Here’s some more Pop wisdom.

Eric Ortiz
Eric Ortiz is a journalist and innovator with two decades in digital media, Ortiz founded the mobile app startup Evrybit, a live storytelling and reporting tool, as a 2014 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at…
Eric Ortiz

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