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Tony Parker points to Gregg Popovich’s rock-solid principle as secret behind legendary reputation

Tony Parker, Gregg Popovich, Spurs

No one knows San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich like his former players, as he has been able to maintain a legacy despite the multiple faces that have been part of the franchise alongside Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker.

The latter, who bolted for the Charlotte Hornets this offseason, tried his best to peg his former coach’s genius in a self-written The Players’ Tribune piece.

“It’s hard to explain what makes Pop such a special leader. Of course, there’s the stuff you know: He’s a genius communicator, a sharp Xs-and-Os thinker, a brilliant motivator, and an all-around great guy. But I think what makes him unique as an NBA coach are his principles: the way that he established them from the start — and then the way that he has stuck to them ever since,” wrote Parker.

“And that’s just Pop, man. That’s what makes him so special. It’s no B.S. when he’s giving you these words of encouragement … and it’s no B.S. when he’s giving you these words of criticism. When he’s starting you, when he’s benching you, when he’s handing you the keys to the offense, or even when he’s shopping the keys around in free agency to someone else … man, you’re still getting the same Pop, operating on the same principle, every time. And that principle is: anything that happens on his watch, it happens for one reason and one reason only. The good of the Spurs.”

Popovich also has a legendary rapport with his players that extends off the court. Whether it is inviting them to his home or paying for dinner if they ever happen to be in the same restaurant, as he has done with the likes of Steve Kerr, despite now being his colleague.

Supremely intelligent, bold, and blunt — but also incredibly nurturing and supportive; a strange mix that has had players gravitating to play for Popovich and giving up a lot to remain being a part of the Spurs organization.

Sometimes there are just things money can’t buy.