Sacramento Kings

Coaches’ fan club: Kings’ Dave Joerger, Spurs’ Gregg Popovich have mutual respect

Gregg Popovich elaborates on his comments about President-elect Donald Trump

Visiting Sacramento to take on the Kings, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich talks about why he felt the need to speak up about President-elect Donald Trump. Video from Nov. 17, 2016.
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Visiting Sacramento to take on the Kings, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich talks about why he felt the need to speak up about President-elect Donald Trump. Video from Nov. 17, 2016.

NBA coaches have a mutual admiration society.

They can speak the universal language of competition, the grind, the joys of victory, the despair of defeat.

The Kings’ Dave Joerger is a fan of Gregg Popovich, the San Antonio Spurs’ longtime boss. And the feeling is mutual.

When Joerger was finding his way in this profession in the minor leagues in outposts in North Dakota and South Dakota, he ran into Popovich in Texas and picked his considerable brain on leadership and life.

Popovich and Joerger met hours before the teams played Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center.

“I have so much respect for (Popovich),” Joerger said. “He let me hang around when I was in the minor leagues. I have a great deal of affinity for him, what he’s done. As great as a basketball coach as he is, he’s an even better human being. He’s a terrific, terrific guy.”

Popovich said he’s a fan of the Kings’ first-year coach.

“He’s just a really quality person – what you see is what you get,” Popovich said. “He’s organized, he’s passionate, he’s fair. He makes people accountable. He knows how to get on somebody and love them at the same time. He’s an all-around true guy. NBA players, their BS antenna goes up when someone’s a fake. He’s just the opposite. He’s for real.”

Popovich said he could immediately tell Joerger had leadership and coaching abilities, the “it” factor.

I have so much respect for (Popovich). He let me hang around when I was in the minor leagues. I have a great deal of affinity for him, what he’s done. As great as a basketball coach as he is, he’s an even better human being. He’s a terrific, terrific guy.

Dave Joerger, Kings coach, on the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich

“You know real quickly if they’re in charge of their group, if they’re listening, if they’re learning, if they’re paying attention,” Popovich said. “He showed that creativity and passion. He’s pretty much a no-brainer.”

Political Pop – Popovich was outspoken last week about his disappointment regarding Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election, and he maintained that stance before Wednesday’s game.

Popovich said there has been “no responsibility or accountability” for the way Trump denigrated so many throughout his campaign. “That still bothers me very much. It’d be great if he made some statements to all the groups he disparaged, to bring us together (to offset fears). But he inflamed it even more.

“I think he was shocked (to win the election),” Popovich continued. “I think at one point he was preparing to lose. He doesn’t seem that interested in policy. I haven’t seen or heard any core values or principles. He’s got one big motivation and that’s to win at whatever he does. That’s not a core value. That’s not a principle. That’s not a vision. He’s got one big motivation and that’s to win at whatever he does.

“You can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth It changes day to day, depending on the situation and what he needs at that moment. It goes back to 1988. He said if he ever did run, he’d run as a Republican because (those voters) are ‘stupid.’

Popovich was asked if he received a green light to speak out from the Holt family, which owns the Spurs and donated to the Trump campaign.

He’s just a really quality person – what you see is what you get. He’s organized, he’s passionate, he’s fair. He makes people accountable. He knows how to get on somebody and love them at the same time. He’s an all-around true guy. NBA players, their BS antenna goes up when someone’s a fake. He’s just the opposite. He’s for real.

Gregg Popovich, Spurs coach, on the Kings’ Dave Joerger

“(No one) has given me that freedom,” Popovich said. “I live in America. That’s what gives me the freedom. Everyone can have an opinion. You can be the doctor, the plumber, the lawyer, the car mechanic, the gardener or a lowly basketball coach. You can have an opinion.”

Cubs win! – Jerry Reynolds knows his basketball history, but the Kings TV commentator also appreciates baseball trivia. He popped this one in the media room to The Sacramento Bee.

“When the Chicago Cubs last won the World Series (before this year in 1908), where did they spend spring training, and where did they have it the last time they reached the World Series before this year in 1945?” It was French Lick, Ind., home of Reynolds and Larry Bird.

“So the real curse as to why it took so long for the Cubs to win was they stopped training in French Lick,” Reynolds said.

“They ran what they wanted to do,” coach Dave Joerger said. “They got the shots where they wanted to get them, they cut where they wanted to cut, they drove where they wanted to drive. (We) made the game very, very easy for the Spurs.” “I’ll take

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

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