After an opening game loss to France in the Tokyo Olympics, Gregg Popovich and Team USA notched their first win after rolling past Iran, 120-66 on Wednesday.
It was quite the reassuring victory Team USA needed after a string of losses even prior to the Summer Games. The blowout win, however, had political underpinnings as the United States and Iran have had tensions in the past, especially in nuclear talks. As expected after the win, Popovich was asked by foreign reporters about it, and he handled it pretty diplomatically (via Heavy).
“Well I’m not the answer man, I’m not the Secretary of State or anything like that. But in general, you know, I think people in different countries get along a whole lot better than their governments do.”
Popovich also lauded the sportsmanship between Team USA and Iran, which after all, is one of the main credos of the Olympics.
“You know, once you get to the politicians and that sort of thing, it becomes much more complicated with, you know, self-interest and ideologies and personal agendas. But the people generally get along, appreciate each other no matter what country you’re talking about. I really believe that, I’ve always believed that.”
The 72-year-old Popovich, who graduated from the US Air Force Academy, has been criticized as of late for Team USA’s blunders. But the multi-titled San Antonio Spurs tactician has remained pragmatic, choosing to focus on the things they can control than dwell on their recent defeats.
Team USA is still awaiting its next opponent in the Tokyo Olympics.