Wearing a Tim Duncan t-shirt, Gregg Popovich faced the local media Tuesday afternoon, and fought back tears while saying goodbye to the greatest player he’s ever coached and the most “genuine” person he has known.
Pop spoke extemporaneously and with eloquence about the retired Duncan, who has been the San Antonio Spurs’ engine for 19 years.
Popovich says the future Hall of Famer is, quite simply, irreplaceable.
Per the AP:
Choking up at times and making wisecracks at others, Popovich bade a public farewell to Duncan’s playing career on Tuesday. The five-time NBA champion announced his retirement on Monday in a statement released through the team, ending a 19-year career that was spent entirely in San Antonio […] “I figured I better come out here and do this and somehow say goodbye to him,” Popovich said. “Which is an impossibility, for a lot of reasons.”
Popovich spoke in a corner of the Spurs’ practice facility in San Antonio, the spot where he holds court with reporters after workouts during the season. There was no news conference, no elaborate setup, not even any live coverage permitted. Even for something that will have so much impact on the team, the league and the sport, the Spurs kept things as simple as possible.[…] Duncan is leaving. In some respects, everything is changing. In others, nothing will.
There were moments of humor, too, like Popovich saying Duncan made him wear the clothes he gave him — including the shirt he donned Tuesday — or else he wouldn’t play. […] Mostly, Popovich’s words showed sadness and appreciation.