Gregg Popovich is now one victory away from becoming the single winningest coach in NBA history.
With the San Antonio Spurs’ 117-110 triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, Popovich tied Don Nelson with his 1,335th career regular season win. Popovich will get a chance to pass Nelson on Wednesday when the Spurs host the Toronto Raptors.
Popovich reached Nelson’s 1,335-win mark in 370 fewer games and five fewer seasons. At 1,335-693, Popovich also ranks eighth all-time in winning percentage among people who coached at least 100 NBA games.
Popovich first joined the Spurs organization in 1988 as an assistant coach on Larry Brown’s staff. After spending a short period as Nelson’s assistant with the Golden State Warriors, Popovich rejoined the Spurs as general manager and vice president of basketball operations in 1994. He named himself head coach in December 1996 after firing Bob Hill 18 games into that season.
The Spurs won the NBA Finals in Popovich’s second full season with the team and remained in title contention for the next two decades. From 1997 to 2019, San Antonio collected five NBA titles and never had a season with a record below .500.
Popovich’s squad has gone just 90-118 since the start of the 2019 season. At 25-40, the Spurs currently sit in the No. 12 seed in the Western Conference, 2.5 games out of the final play-in spot.