Gregg Popovich trolled the hell out of reporters asking about the San Antonio Spurs’ playoff streak.
Heading into Thursday’s batch of NBA seeding games, the San Antonio Spurs needed some help to earn a spot in the league’s play-in scenario. In addition to a win over the Utah Jazz, the Spurs needed two losses from the Memphis Grizzlies-Phoenix Suns-Portland Trail Blazers trio competing for those same play-in spots.
Unfortunately, with Memphis and Phoenix both winning, the Spurs were eliminated from play-in contention before their game against Utah even started. San Antonio wound up losing with nothing to play for, falling to 5-3 in the bubble, but what everyone was fixated on was the team’s historic 22-year streak of making the playoffs coming to an end.
Those 22 consecutive trips to the postseason tied the all-time record in any of the four major professional sports leagues in the U.S., so after such an incredible streak for Gregg Popovich and company, it was only natural the Spurs head coach fielded questions about it.
In classic Pop fashion, however, he mercilessly trolled the reporters who asked him about it:
Gregg Popovich was a terrifying treasure answering questions about the Spurs streak
You almost get the feeling Popovich had rehearsed this reaction for when the day finally came. With a completely straight face he blankly asked, “The streak? What are you talking about?”
When a reporter followed up on asking about the streak, Pop gave one of his typical, terrifying responses, saying shortly, “I don’t have any thoughts. It doesn’t enter my mind.”
He let the unbearable silence hang in the air once again, and when someone tried to ask a different question, Popovich wasn’t done, interjecting, “Did you talk at all about the streak before it ended? Or was this important when it ended?”
You could cut the tension with a knife after his heated responses, but then Pop cracked a smile that was visible even through his mask before saying, “I’m just screwing with you” and laughing.
He then gave an actual, articulate answer afterward, saying he doesn’t dwell on the past and was more encouraged by how well San Antonio played in Orlando and how good it was to see development from the younger guys:
“I don’t dwell on the past. You know, I don’t know who won the baseball championship from year to year. Four years ago, I don’t know who won the NBA championship. That stuff’s not totally important. What’s important is the moment, you do what you gotta do and then you move on, but looking at the past doesn’t do much good.
“I’m more excited about this than anything you guys are talking about right now …. I’m thrilled with the way they played here. They had no shot to get into this thing and basically willed themselves into it to have this opportunity. The development of the young kids, DeMar [DeRozan] and Rudy [Gay] playing the way they did, this is the best we’ve played all year.”
The Spurs may not be making the playoffs for a 23rd consecutive year, but at least Pop feels like they’re going out on top. As far as best troll interviews of the season are concerned, so is he.