As a sideline reporter, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is your worst nightmare. He’s not interested in listening to your fluffy, bullshit questions. He’s the Marshawn Lynch of basketball, only talking to reporters so he “don’t get fined.”
But when longtime TNT courtside reporter Craig Sager pulled Popovich aside before the second quarter of the Spurs versus Grizzlies game on Thursday, Pop couldn’t help be somewhat compassionate. It was the first time Sager, who has been battling acute myeloid leukemia on and off since the 2014 NBA playoffs, had spoken to Popovich on TNT since the 2013-2014 season.
Pop showed Sager the love the only way Pop knows how — by giving Sager as much shit as possible.
Craig Sager interviews Coach Pop during the break. https://t.co/F8pvWnc4U1
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 4, 2015
Despite his thick, outer shell, old man Popovich has a big soft spot for Sager and his family. The two also had a touching moment before the game.
— Kevin harlan (@Kevinharlan) December 4, 2015
Sager told Sports Illustrated back in October that he never expected Popovich to take things easy on him when he got back on the court:
Sager said returning to work was a huge motivator as were all the well wishes from professional colleagues and fans (he received a lot of cards). Last week while at home, the phone rang from a familiar voice. He recounted the dialogue:
“It’s Coach Pop,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “How you doing, pal? I see you are coming back to work?”
“Yeah, I am,” Sager replied.
“Does that mean that this pity party is over now?” Popovich bellowed. “Does this mean I can go back to not answering your questions and making fun of your clothes?”
Said Sager: “I wouldn’t have it another way.”
So. Much. Love. These guys deserve a sitcom..
[via Sports Illustrated]