Gregg Popovich doesn’t get along with the media that much, but he’s about had it up to here with one reporter.
Gregg Popovich has always been cautious when speaking to mainstream media and how can you blame him? He wouldn’t be the first person who has been taken out of context, and he wouldn’t be the last.
He’s a man of simplicity, but as the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it (even if it might need a little bit of fixing this time around). Plus, his reach is pretty prevalent around the league, and he’s respected by coaches and media outlets alike.
So when Pop is calling you out, you know something might be wrong.
Let’s roll the tape:
Gregg Popovich snaps at reporter after Team USA loss to Australia
After another loss in an exhibition match, the reporter, being Joe Vardon of The Athletic questioned Damian Lillard on Team USA’s success in past tournaments versus the current climate which — well, where’s the Mad Men “not great, Bob” GIF when you need it?
Lillard took the response in stride, but Pop was not letting Vardon off without getting grumpy first.
NBC Sports drops the transcript of the exchange, but here’s the meat and potatoes of the exchange:
“Let me also answer that question. You know, you’ve asked the same sort of question, the same family of question, last time, where you you assume things that are not true. When you just mentioned blowing these teams out, that’s never happened. So, I don’t know where you get that.”
For as grumpy as Popovich is, Vardon has very valid points. Historically, Team USA has done exceptionally well in exhibitions and in real-deal events. They blew out China and Nigeria by 50+ in exhibitions in the Rio Olympics, and by that point, the Gold was guaranteed.
But does this mean that Pop is all wrong, too? Not really, the same Nigeria team that Team USA beat by 50 has clearly gotten better.
Does this mean that Team USA is going to fold? That’s the narrative, but lest we forget this is an exhibition match. If Team USA gets walloped in the Olympics, then we can revisit that part of the conversation.
Plus, if we’re being real, 54-2 isn’t that bad of a record, all things considered. Someone get Pop some warm milk and a soft pillow so he can sleep this one off.