Coach Pop Pregame Media Availability - Spurs vs. Magic

March 8, 2014

Coach Pop

(On keeping up with former assistant coaches who now have head coaching jobs…)
“I keep in touch with all of the guys who come through the program. They were great to me. We all had good relationships and those are friends for life. I keep in touch with everybody. They’ll call and say ‘Tough game,’ or ‘Good game,’ and I do the same for them.”

(On things he still embraces about coaching in the NBA…)
“I think anybody who coaches agrees with Hubie Brown. The real joy is watching your team improve. We’re the ones that are there day to day with our teams as they build each year. You fall in love with the day to day stuff, whether it’s practice, shootaround, or a film session you have one on one with a player and you watch that individual grow during the year. That’s what teaching and coaching is all about. That’s the part that we all love the most. The games are competitive and that part is fun too, but it’s the teaching that I think everybody enjoys or misses when they stop doing it.”

(On whether he’s offered any advice to Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn…)
“When we talk, we talk about basketball, ask about each other’s families, and that kind of thing. He’s a grown man. He spent a wonderful NBA career as a guy that wasn’t all that talented but got the most out of what he had, and he knew what he had to do to survive. He has a very good understanding of the game because of the things he couldn’t do as a player. His maturity level and his intelligence level don’t require me to pump him up. He’s probably more capable of pumping me up than I am him. He’s a tough little nut and he doesn’t need me to do that.”

(On Shaquille O’Neal’s recent high school jersey retirement ceremony…)
“I went down there to see him. I’ve always respected him as a player and really enjoyed him as a human being. He was a great player obviously, and he is a great entertainer also. That’s tough to do, but he was great at it. He was competitive and he obviously won a lot. I really respected the competition with him all the time. With him being a San Antonio native, it was always fun to be able to say that about him. We just enjoyed each other. We would actually pick on each other from time to time. I did that with the free throw if you remember on the first play of a game. He got a big kick out of that. I’ve always enjoyed watching him. He’s one of the great guys.”