Gregg Popovich responds to Donald Trump’s criticism
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popvich refused to engage in a back-and-forth with President Donald Trump on Sunday in the wake of the league’s response questions about its relationship with China.
Popvich shrugged off criticisms from Trump, lauding NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for his response to a geopolitical controversy that began with a now-deleted tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey that showed support for protestors in Hong Kong:
Gregg Popovich, on what it was like to hear his name come out of the President's mouth last week: pic.twitter.com/3t601mFRVt
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) October 13, 2019
Mr. Trump also took aim at the league at large. “I watch the way that Kerr, Popovich, and some of the others were pandering to China and yet to our own country, they don’t – it’s like they don’t respect it,” Mr. Trump said.
Morey’s tweet has set off a firestorm of backlash. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta immediately clarified that his GM did not speak for the organization, but the Chinese Basketball Association still elected to sever all ties with the team.
In an official response from the league, Silver supported Morey’s right to free speech. However, the controversy has extended to teams throughout the league.
Multiple players and coaches have been asked about the situation in China, and the Rockets were scolded for shutting down all questions with respect to the league’s partnerships with the CBA.
While the league continues to grapple with this dilemma, Popovich is preparing for his 24th season as the head coach of the Spurs.