Athletes Share Outpouring Of Support For Coach Gregg Popovich After His Wife's Death
Players, coaches, and TV analysts offered their condolences to the beloved, grumpy icon.
On April 18, the San Antonio Spurs organization announced the death of Erin Popovich, the wife of coach Gregg Popovich, following a protracted illness.
Personalities throughout the NBA and the sports world sent messages of sympathy and condolences to the famously grumpy NBA icon. Though Popovich was notoriously terse in press conferences and interviews, he is widely considered — beyond his gruff exterior — a warm man who stands up for what he believes, especially in the realms of politics and social progress.
Steve Kerr, the coach of the Golden State Warriors, whom the Spurs are currently facing in the playoffs, spoke glowingly of his memory of Gregg and Erin.
A transcript of his remarks (via FTW):
“Pop might be the most admired man in the NBA, for many reasons, and there’s an outpouring of support and grief from everybody around the league. Especially for those of us who were a part of the Spurs family, who have been so impacted by Pop and Erin over the years.
[I] knew her well. She was close with my wife when I played here. Erin was sort of the balance that Pop needed. I still remember when he traded me to Portland, 2001, he called me up to tell me the news. He said ‘I don’t think I can go home because Erin’s going to be so mad at me for trading you.'”
The roster of those sending their thoughts to Popovich reads as a veritable “who’s who” in the NBA, past and present.
The San Antonio Spurs created a tribute video to Greg and Erin’s 40 years of love.
LeBron James spoke of his heartbreak in learning the news, but also addressed the misconception that a reporter had surprised him with the news during a postgame interview.
The crew at TNT’s “Inside the NBA” studio show, who often mock Popovich’s demeanor, passed on condolences to the grieving coach.
Popovich was absent from the team’s April 19 game against the Golden State Warriors, and no timeline has been set for his return. He has not made a public statement in the wake of Erin’s death.