No doubt Gregg Popovich has stuffed the stat sheet like few head coaches in NBA history, with three coach-of-the-year awards and a record 22 consecutive playoff appearances from 1998 through 2019. By last March, Pop had won more games than any other coach to walk an NBA sideline. And most remarkably, he notched every one of those victories with the small-market San Antonio Spurs.
Now, just imagine if we had some way of quantifying the intangible side of Pop’s legacy. A “made their day” quotient for the sommeliers who’ve received generous tips from the NBA’s best-known oenophile; a full accounting of the many charitable acts Pop never discusses in public; or some measure of how it has felt for generations of San Antonians to watch the Spurs reach heights that few basketball teams have ever touched—and do it with such selflessness, grace, and grit.
Can you picture that? It looks like the GOAT.
Winning percentage as coach (highest of any coach to reach 1,200 wins)
Number of other coaches in the history of all four major U.S. professional sports leagues who’ve spent at least 25 years with one team
NBA Coach of the Year Awards (a tie with Don Nelson and Pat Riley for the most)
Regular season win-loss record
Number of other coaches in NBA history who have spent at least 25 years with the same team
Number of his wins in which Tim Duncan was a starter
Consecutive seasons coaching the Spurs
Statistics current as of the end of the 2021–2022 NBA season.
This article originally appeared in the January 2023 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “The Best NBA Coach Ever.” Subscribe today.