Texas, like all places, is the site of both triumphs and tragedies. Every Friday in The Best Thing In Texas, we look for something that reminded us why we love our home state so much.
WHAT: A story about people hanging out at a concert that you’ll actually be interested in.
WHO: The San Antonio power trio of Gregg Popovich, Manu Ginobili, and Ed Sheeran, obviously.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: Over recent years, we’ve gotten to know the softer side of the long-tenured, cantankerous Coach Pop. He tears up when he thinks about Tim Duncan or Craig Sager. He’s sincere, passionate, and engaged with politics. He’s a seriously great tipper (maybe he’s single-handedly brought up San Antonio’s average?). And, apparently, he’s so in touch with his sensitive side that he’s also an Ed Sheeran superfan.
Or, at least, he’s capable of tolerating that “I’m in love with your body” song long enough that he could bring himself to attend an Ed Sheeran concert in San Antonio this week, which is no mean feat. (Sheeran, after all, is so divisive that fans blamed him for ruining Game of Thrones earlier this season.) Your average 68-year-old curmudgeon secretly enjoying Ed Sheeran is charming; when it’s Popovich, it’s downright adorable. And when he attends the concert with one of his all-time great players as Tuesday Night Concert Buddies? There are basically no words for how friggin’ charmed I am by this story. I can only assume that Tim Duncan would have joined them, too, but he had a D&D game that night and his character was about to level up so he couldn’t cancel.
Within the best thing in Texas this week, there are two twin forces competing for the best part: One is the fact that Pop and Manu were so low-key about the whole thing that we only know about it because people who sat near them at the concert lost their shit on Twitter. The other is that it’s apparently part of a pattern of Manu taking his Spurs pals to check out the biggest pop stars live and in concert. While there’s no record of Popovich ever hanging out backstage with Lady Gaga, we know that in 2014, Ginobili and Tony Parker kicked it with the singer to celebrate their NBA Finals win. Which means that if you, like Lady Gaga, count Manu as your favorite player, your best chance to see the guy in public with one of his colleagues might be the Janet Jackson concert on September 13, or maybe The Weeknd at the AT&T Center the following month. And if anyone ends up with footage of Pop mouthing the words to “Can’t Feel My Face,” please, please, please send it to me. —Dan Solomon