Gregg Popovich deems retirement questions as ‘inappropriate’

Gregg Popovich has enjoyed near constant success through 26 years of coaching in the Lone Star State, building an unmistakable identity behind strong fundamentals and infamously abrupt interactions with the media.

So when the 73-year-old head coach faced a question about his retirement in the wake of three consecutive losing seasons, he retorted with an equally on-brand response.

“That question’s inappropriate,” Popovich replied.

Addressing Popovich’s comments on Thursday’s “Undisputed,” Shannon Sharpe criticized the long-time coach’s curt attitude and bolstered the line of questioning around coach Pop’s retirement.

“That’s not an inappropriate question,” Sharpe said. “[Popovich] could have handled it a lot better. But that’s how Pop has always been. Pop has always been a curt with the media. He’s always been snide and somewhat dismissive. ”

Backlash to Popovich’s relationship with the media has – arguably – been soothed by his near flawless head coaching pedigree. Following his first season on the guidelines in San Antonio, Pop enjoyed a winning season every year until 2018, winning 60-plus games on six separate occasions and securing five NBA championships.

Winning, Sharpe contended, often offers a free pass in the press room for adversarial answers.

“That’s not something that he [Popovich] cares to do, “Sharpe said.” But look at Bill Belichick, that I have been dismissive for 20 years. Even sometimes they let Tom Brady apart by because he had won seven championships. So, you let some things pass when you guys have success. ”

However, Popovich did proceed to speak on the Spurs’ upcoming draft prospects, suggesting that the aging coach is considering sticking around for Year 27 at the AT&T Center. San Antonio currently has three first-round picks, one lottery selection and two picks from the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics that will fall between 20 and 25 in the first round, depending on playoff success.

The Spurs also enjoyed a stellar end of the season, despite a lowly 34-48 record. The team won seven of their final 11 games with a young, talented core before eventually bowing out to the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament, which Sharpe said should have been the focus of Popovich’s answer.

“[Popovich] could say, ‘Look, right now I just want to talk about the game that we just played,’ ‘Sharpe said.’ ‘I’m very impressed with what [the Spurs] did, considering where we were at the beginning and the middle of the season, how we put together a nice little stretch at the end in order to make it into the playoffs to play a tournament. I feel really good about that. ”

However, Sharpe warned that Popovich’s rebuild could be ill-fated, doubting whether San Antonio could be an attractive destination in a free agency and emphasizing the renewed pressure placed on the Spurs’ franchise to draft well.

“They’re going to have to do what they’ve always done: draft well,” Sharpe said.

“Hope you get another Tim Duncan or swindle somebody for like a Kawhi [Leonard]. Other than that, it’s going to be really hard for Pop to replicate what he did in his first 20-plus years in San Antonio. “

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