Video: Gregg Popovich jokes with Donovan Mitchell, reporter after Team USA’s FIBA World Cup win
Team USA faced off against the Czech Republic on Sunday in their first matchup in the group stage of the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
After defeating the Czechs 88-67, first-time head coach Gregg Popovich brought his patented quick wit with reporters overseas, teasing a member of the media. Answering a question about his impression of the fans at Team USA’s opening game in Shanghai, the five-time NBA champion coach said he “honestly has no idea” regarding those who attended the game due to his focus on the game and the players.
Then, Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, starting in the backcourt for Pop and the Americans, replied he felt differently, with the coach quickly retorting, “You’re supposed to be paying attention to the game. What the hell?”
Popovich’s reply to his player drew laughs from Mitchell and the assembled press.
“You’re starting trouble on my team,” Popovich then directed toward the original member of the press who asked the question:
— Eurohoops.net (@Eurohoopsnet) September 1, 2019
Team USA plays Turkey and Japan later this week in the round robin style in Group E. The top two teams move on to the second round of the World Cup, with a likely matchup against Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece looming.
In their opening win against the Czech Republic, Mitchell led the way with a team-high 16 points along with a pair of assists and rebounds. Starting point guard Kemba Walker, the new Boston Celtics floor general, contributed 13 points and four assists, and Sacramento Kings veteran forward Harrison Barnes added 14 points in the victory.