On Friday, Gregg Popovich passed Don Nelson to become the NBA’s all-time wins leader (1,336) — the latest achievement in his legendary career.
He has redefined small-market success, winning five championships and making a record 22 consecutive postseasons with a Spurs franchise whose biggest free-agent splash was LaMarcus Aldridge.
In his twin role as president of basketball operations, he quietly built a dynasty on homegrown and international talent — namely Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili.
- Pop has the third-best win percentage (.658) for coaches with a minimum 1,000 games, trailing Phil Jackson (.704) and Red Auerbach (.661).
- His five rings are tied for third-most behind Jackson (11) and Auerbach (9).
- Popovich became the first head coach in NBA history to lead the same team for 2,000 or more games.
- He’s the longest-tenured coach in all four of the major U.S. sports
The highest-paid coach ($11M) in the NBA has revolutionized the game in more ways than one as an advocate and trailblazer in sports science.
Last year, the Spurs invested $510 million in a 45-acre sports science and medicine campus.
Just like when he took over the Spurs in 1996, his job is to turn a rebuilding Spurs team around — after missing the last two postseasons, they are struggling to get into a play-in spot.