Pop becomes the winningest coach in NBA history

On February 28, Gregg Popovich celebrated 73 years of life, but today the celebration can add the cherry that was missing.

The wait was long. Since adding 1,334 wins (on February 25 against the Wizards), the San Antonio Spurs have lost four games in a row (Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Hornets); however, last Monday, March 7, with the victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, 117-110, the coach equaled the mark of the legendary Don Nelson by reaching 1,335 wins in the NBA. Today that figure is already part of history, because with the triumph over the Utah Jazz104-102, at the AT&T Center, the five-time NBA champion added 1,336 wins to alone command the list of head coaches with the most games won in the Association.

Almost a month ago, on February 4, Pop also became the first NBA head coach to reach 1,500 career wins, counting regular season and playoffs, when his Spurs beat the Houston Rockets 131-106.

Throughout his career as a coach, Pop has left behind coaches such as Lenny Wilkens (1,332 wins), whom he surpassed on February 17; Jerry Sloan (1221) or Pat Riley (1210), among others. For something the NBA considered him in the list of the 15 best coaches in the history of the Association, a fact that seems not to have much relevance for the three-time Coach of the Year.

“Win another ring? I don’t know, but it’s not a priority in my life either. I would be much happier if I knew that my players are going to contribute to improving society, that they have good families and that they take care of the people around them,” said the historic coach, who enlisted in the United States Army, a few days ago. in 1966 and graduated in Soviet Studies in 1970.

Popovich and Nelson’s relationship dates back to their time in the Golden State Warriorswhen the current Texans manager was Nelson’s assistant back in 1994.

Pop’s tenure as head coach began in the 1996-97 season with the Spurs; he previously worked as an assistant in the same franchise, from the 88-98 to 91-92 campaign. Later, from 92-93 to 93-94 he was also as an assistant in the Warriors with the aforementioned Nelson.

In his first year in San Antonio he won 17 games and lost 47, while his most successful campaign in terms of wins was 2015-16 in which he won 67 games and lost 15 for an 81.7% effectiveness. It is worth mentioning that of the 25 seasons in which he has managed Spurs, he only in two, 2019-20 and 2020-21, did he not qualify for the Playoffs.

With the Spurs looking to get into the play-in in the second half of this season, currently 12th in the West (26-41), Pop will put his number of wins in a place perhaps inaccessible for several decades for the elite of the Spurs. NBA coaches.

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Pop becomes the winningest coach in NBA history