Longtime San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is expected to be named as one of the finalists to be elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2023, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, and Keldon Johnson had high praise for his coach on Friday.
“I wish everybody could get to experience being around Coach Pop because he changed my life, literally,” Johnson expressed. “From being a little kid to being a man, not just only on the court but off the court as well. And I think it's well deserved, he had an amazing career and he's still going. I'm just happy to be a part of his journey, be able to learn and grow as a man under Coach Pop.”
"I wish everybody could experience being around coach Pop… he changed my life." pic.twitter.com/Knb0l5h2Vf
— NBA (@NBA) April 1, 2023
Gregg Popovich is the NBA career leader in coaching wins, and he's also guided the Spurs to five championships. After taking over as coach in 1996, he is the longest tenured active coach in the NBA as well as any other major sports league in the United States.
He's widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches in NBA history and should be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. He led the Spurs to a winning record in his first 22 full seasons as head coach, surpassing Phil Jackson for the most consecutive winning seasons in NBA history.
A formal announcement on the full Class of 2023 will come on Saturday at the NCAA men's basketball Final Four in Houston. Also among the finalists are Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Tony Parker and Becky Hammon, per Woj.
Keldon Johnson has played three seasons with the Spurs after being selected in the first-round of the 2019 NBA Draft by the team. He won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Of course, that team was coached by Popovich himself.