The numbers speak for themselves: a record 17 straight playoff appearances, four championships, a third highest all-time winning percentage of .675. But Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich is more than a 65-year-old success story. Watching him stalk the sidelines is to see a tragic figure, a fatally determined cross between General Patton, Richard Nixon, and Knute Rockne. There's that woefully pitted face, the bulbous gangster nose, and his trademark scowl, like a Rottweiler bearing its teeth behind a chain-link fence. He's always been an entertaining, if guarded, personality. But over the past few years he's become an oracle of gruff brevity – Mitch Hedberg in in a game-day suit. The NBA requires coaches to give sideline interviews. If it didn't, Popovich definitely wouldn't talk. As it stands, he's created an artform out of blunt responses.
A sampling of his interviews (reproduced here in their entirety):
Interviewer: Your thoughts on the third quarter...
Popovich: We're behind.
Interviewer: Four for 22 shooting for you guys so far on offense. What’s the problem?
Popovich: Didn't go in the hole.
and in a particularly voluble mood...
Interviewer: Pop, seven for 28. Not much to like about that, I guess.
Popovich: You know, you're an incisive man. That's exactly right.
Interviewer: Pop, what’s the key to your team when you’re playing without Tim Duncan?
Popovich: There's no key. We just do the same stuff.
So when the buzzer sounds, hold off on the bathroom break. You won't have to wait long.