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Gregg Popovich says he is not Marshawn Lynch of NBA (because he’s not)

Oklahoma City Thunder v San Antonio Spurs -Game Two

Oklahoma City Thunder v San Antonio Spurs -Game Two

Andrew D. Bernstein

Somehow, Marshawn Lynch not wanting to open up to the mass media became a thing Super Bowl week. Personally, I don’t get it. Or care. From where I sit he has the right not to talk. He could have handled it more professionally, but I honestly don’t get how that became a big story.

Around the NBA Lynch’s style did lead to some discussion of “who is the NBA’s Marshawn Lynch?” Russell Westbrook tried to earn some votes, but the most common answer was Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. He of the withering in-game interviews, he of the no tolerance for stupid questions. I find Popovich the curmudgeon amusing, not everyone sees it that way.

Sam Amick, as part of a much longer interview about Tim Duncan’s future, asked Popovich if he was the NBA’s Lynch. Popovich rightly denied it.

A: The only time I’m uncooperative is the end of the first or third quarter. 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.

Q: Have you argued to have those after-quarter interviews eliminated?

A: 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. 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. They (the TV people) are in our timeouts the entire game. They have cameras in our timeouts. They hear everything we say. They have microphones and they can use anything they want — you know, we trust them. 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.

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, so I just say, “You know, it just puts everybody in a stupid position.” And (NBA officials) listen to it, and then they go, “Yeah, well (blabbering).” And then they don’t do anything about it. So I just do what I do.

I don’t have a problem with this either (and I’ve gotten the trite quip from Popovich before for a poorly phrased question). I understand his reluctance to do these interviews, but they also aren’t going anywhere.

Honestly, you kind of have to respect that he will not just play along because everyone expects him to.