Suns owner calls out Spurs, Gregg Popovich for not showing up for preseason game (vid)
Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver was mad as hell and he wasn’t going to take it anymore.
Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch, but Sarver did feel compelled to apologize to fans who showed up US Airways on Thursday night for the team’s preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs expecting to see a full roster from the opposing team.
The Suns owner grabbed the P.A. announcer’s microphone during the game to make a very public and slightly awkward apology for the substandard product on the court … during a preseason game.
The entire scene was precipitated by the decision of Gregg Popovich to have a handful of the team’s players — Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills — not even bother making the trip to Phoenix for the game.
To make matters worse, not even the Spurs coach himself traveled to the game, instead opting to remain in San Antonio.
Well that apparently irked Sarver. So much so, in fact, that he felt the need to make a statement midway through the game, apologizing to Suns fans who were forced to watch a game rendered meaningless due to a lack of star power on the Spurs’ side that otherwise … would have been meaningless.
“Hey everybody, I want to thank you for coming out tonight,” Saver says. “This is not the game you paid your hard-earned money to watch. I apologize for it. And I want you to send me your tickets if you came tonight, with a return envelope, and I’ve got a gift for you on behalf of the Suns for showing up tonight.”
Again, a preseason game. And the return envelope part? What’s up with that? He’ll spring for a gift but not the envelope. Maybe it’s related to wanting to make sure he has the wronged fan’s mailing address.
To be fair to Pop and the Spurs, again it was a preseason game. As Spurs Nation notes, Mills and Splitter are nursing injuries, Popovich wanted to rest Duncan and Ginobili and Leonard is dealing with an eye infection.
It’s rare for a coach to be so brazen as not to even bother showing up for a preseason game, but, again, it was the preseason. And it’s not like anyone should be shocked with Pop’s proclivity for resting players anyway.
But to give credit where credit is due, Sarver arguably deserves a little credit for trying to do right by Suns fans, not to mention having the guts to call out Popovich for his gamesmanship — or lack thereof, as it were — even if he overreached just a little bit while castigating the Spurs for having players and a coach who didn’t even bother to show up … for a preseason game.
[H/T Pro Basketball Talk]