Gregg Popovich joined an exclusive group for NBA coaches when he achieved his 1,000th victory against the Indiana Pacers. He is the third fastest coach to achieve the milestone, only behind Pat Riley and Phil Jackson. Any time you are in a group with those two coaches, you know you are doing something right. And Popovich has done it in a small market in San Antonio. Jerry Sloan, formerly of the Utah Jazz, is the only other coach to win 1,000 games all with one team. However, Popovich is the only one to accomplish such a feat while also winning an NBA championship. With the way things are today, it’s unlikely that this feat will ever happen again, much less someone winning five titles with the same team and winning 1,000 games.

When you look back at Popovich’s career in San Antonio, it was not always smooth sailing. When he was hired in the mid-nineties to be the new coach, there was a lot of push back from the fan base. Popovich was coming from a front office job to the sideline and not many fans approved of that.

However, once David Robinson arrived and Tim Duncan came later on, that animosity quickly diminished. The Spurs won their first NBA championship in 1999, but no sports betting experts predicted that they would become a dynasty over the next decade. They have since won four more championships under Popovich and have consistently been one of the top teams in the Western Conference during his tenure.

Young Spurs fans today probably don’t remember how bad things were in San Antonio before Popovich arrived. The Spurs weren’t exactly a consistent contender, but “Pop” was able to turn that around quickly. Good coaches seem to be like a father figure to players, and that’s exactly what Popovich is. It’s no wonder why guys like Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have stayed with him for so many years.

With longevity and loyalty almost non-existent in the NBA nowadays, the Spurs have been a rare franchise in those terms. There’s no telling how that could change when Pop finally decides to stop coaching, but the culture that he has created is second to none.

Popovich may not coach long enough to surpass Jackson or Riley for total wins as a coach, but you can argue that his career accolades is right up there with theirs. With an aging team, his core players may not have many years left. He has built up guys like Kawhi Leonard to be stars in the league, so that may keep him going. A lot of experts predict that he will stop coaching when Duncan decides to retire, but I wouldn’t be so certain about that. He still has the fire and passion on the sideline so I would expect him to coach at least a couple more years after Duncan hangs it up. One thing we know for sure is that there won’t be another “Pop” in the league for a long time.

Source by Jimmy Reilly