Five-Year Contract: Gregg Popovich signed a five-year contract extension with the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.
The 74-year-old took over as Spurs coach in December 1996 and has won 1,366 games in his 27-year tenure, 31 more than Don Nelson, who held the most career victories as head coach before Popovich beat him.
He is also third in playoff victories with 170, trailing only Phil Jackson (229) and Pat Riley (171).
Popovich is also one of just five coaches to have won at least five titles; Jackson has 11, Red Auerbach has nine, and Popovich shares five with Riley and John Kundla. He’ll be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame next month.
“His ability to connect, spend time, and bounce between the really detailed development of basketball players and the bigger picture of developing people is just so impressive,” said Spurs managing partner Peter J. Holt in May.
“I believe that no matter what Pop does, he will find a way to do that because it is in his heart. And I’m looking forward to the next stage of that trip.”
Popovich said before the Spurs’ final game of the season that he has been the “beneficiary of serendipity to a max degree” in his career – and that was before San Antonio won the lottery and the chance to draught Victor Wembanyama, potentially following in the footsteps of David Robinson and Tim Duncan, who came to the Spurs as No. 1 picks and became franchise-cornerstone big men.
But, without Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs haven’t won a playoff series since 2017 and have gone 121-186 in the last four seasons, losing more games in the last four years than in the prior eight years combined.
These difficulties, combined with Popovich’s age, fueled rumours that he would want to retire.
If Wembanyama gets his way, the losing streak is over. He intends to become a superstar, a legend, and a champion in the NBA. And he’s poised to become the star of Popovich’s most recent – and maybe final – part of his career.