Gregg Popovich treats the media with an unrepentant and remorseless lack of regard, and he was at it again last night.
Coming off Team USA’s loss to Australia, Popovich was surly in answering a reporter’s question about how the Americans are used to blowing out opponents. Here is the video of that exchange:
This level of boorishness is nothing new for Popovich, who routinely treats the media as sub-human. He dismisses questions – even good ones – with prejudice and demeans the poor schlubs who have the temerity to quiz him about basketball.
Used correctly, the media presents an opportunity for coaches and players to build enthusiasm for a sports product that allows a coach like Popovich to earn a reported $11-million per year. Without fans, viewers, and social media revenue, Popovich is nothing more than a guy teaching grown men to throw a leather ball through a metal hoop and prevent opponents from doing the same.
Arrogance is not unique to Popovich among coaches, but he is its most public practitioner of insolance toward media since former Indiana coach Bob Knight, who memorably said, “All of us learn to write in the second grade. Most of us go on to greater things.”
Two things separate Popovich and Knight – Knight was entertaining when he put the media on blast, and Knight won championships without Tim Duncan.
The media can be dunderheaded, acerbic, and inconvenient, but they are doing a job that allows fans a glimpse behind the curtain, which builds interest and revenue. Treating them as Popovich does is not only rude but hypocritical.
Illinois coach Lou Henson once called Knight “a classic bully,” but at least Knight was an entertaining bully who won championships with three completely different rosters.