Gregg Popovich disputes notion he’s the Marshawn Lynch of the NBA
Gregg Popovich is about as cantankerous, standoffish and bullheaded as they come when it comes to the antagonistic loathing he displays on occasion during some of his dealings with the media. In fact, it could be postulated that, in a way, Pop is the NBA head coaching incarnate of Seattle Seahawks media-averse running back Marshawn Lynch.
But to hear it from the highly decorated and sometimes curmudgeonly San Antonio Spurs head coach, it isn’t so much that he has a bad relationship with the media or can scarcely deal with reporters, it has more to do with his disagreement with some NBA policies in regard to when media accessibility is expected.
Speaking with For the Win’s Sam Amick, Popovich addressed his seemingly churlish attitude to speaking with the media. Pop insists that it’s more to do with then “when” said interviews occur than anything else and almost solely has to do with in-game Q&A sessions on the court.
When asked how it’s been mentioned the relative similarities between his conduct with reporters at times and how Lynch handles his obligation to speak with the media, Popovich made sure to make a distinction between their respective approaches.
“The only time I’m uncooperative is the end of the first or third quarter,” Popovich notes. “Other than that, I do interviews and laugh it up with everybody all the time. I just have a philosophical difference with the NBA, and I let them know it every time. But that’s like 1% of the interviews that I do.”
Given that his own wife once scolded him for his behavior at times by telling him, “You’re a jerk. People hate you,” it’s no surprise that Popovich would like to see the NBA end in-game interviews.
When asked by Amick if he has tried to convince higher-ups in the league to eliminate the interviews he so laments having to do, Popovich says his efforts have been unsuccessful.
“Oh, Sure. Hell, I bring it up every year at the head coaches meeting in Chicago, when all the head coaches are there and TNT and ESPN and all the representatives,” Pop said. “I raise my hand every year, and I say, ‘Well guys, you know what I’m going to say. I don’t understand why we have to do this, to subject the coaches and the questioners to this little period of idiocy … so if they have total access like that, this end of first and third quarter actually takes us away from our job.’ And that’s my philosophical difference with them.”
Popovich explained how in-game interviews distract him from the job at hand and insists that the questions posed are inane at best.
“I said, ‘I’m supposed to be setting the defense and offense to start the next quarter, and I can’t do my job because I’m doing this inane deal with whoever is asking me a question.’ The questions are unanswerable. It’s like, ‘That quarter, you got killed on the boards. What are you going to do about it?.’ ‘Well, I’m going to conduct a trade during timeouts.’ Or, ‘I’m going to ask them nicely to do a better job on the boards.’ The questions just demand a trite quip, or something.”
Odds are that despite Popovich’s insistence at the unnecessary ludicrousness of the in-game interview, the NBA won’t be changing the policy anytime soon. In a way, given the great theater Pop’s on-court sessions with sideline reporters provide viewers, everyone wins. Well, except for Popovich. And those poor, poor sideline reporters, one of whom admitted a particularly awkward interview of Popovich left her “almost in tears.”