View Full Version : Vescey vs. Popovich

06-13-2003, 04:27 AM

Peter Vescey
New York Post

June 13, 2003 -- EARLY ON in the Spurs-Mavericks series, during the ritualistic post-game interview process, I had the nerve to ask Gregg Popovich why his team was doubling off Dirk Nowitzki.
"Are we doing that?" he sardonically replied.

"Yeah, you are."

"Then it's a mistake!" he hissed.

A few minutes later, another media minion wandered along that same fragile line of questioning, again igniting Pop's infamous sarcasm.

In mid-condescension, the man whose only head coaching experience prior to assuming control of the Spurs (61 games shy of lucking into Tim Duncan) consisted of guiding Pomona-Pitzer (a Division-30 Southern California Trade School) to a 69-110 record ("The guy's an embarrassment to my profession," said Tim Floyd), flashed back to yours untruly without naming names. Attempting to daunt and disparage, Popovich blithered and blathered about those who've never coached a game in their lives thinking they know what they're seeing, blah, blah, blah.

"And I 'm sure we'll be reading this real soon in the guy's column . . ."

"Hey, Pop," I interjected, eagerly accepting his challenge, "all I know is, if Duncan were playing for me, I'd be Coach of the Year, too."

Popovich harrumphed. "Well, at least that shows you have some knowledge of the game."

Several innocuous inquiries and responses later, Popovich excused himself. Before he could get up and go, though, I had one more thing to say.

"By the way, Pop, in case you weren't aware, I turned down the Pomona job."

"Yeah, I might've figured you were too big for that school."

Afterward in the Spurs' dressing room, our paths crossed. "Hey, that was great," Popovich said, laughing. "Most of those sessions are a bore, but that give-and-take was fun."

If you say so.

Then again, I suspect it wouldn't have been all that amusing had I allowed Popovich to put me down publicly for asking a legitimate question, as he does to so many others. Like the guy at Wednesday night's press conference who asked, "Why not use one of the best shooters [other than to inbound the ball and to take a foul] in this game, Steve Kerr, who did a great job against Dallas?"

"I've got to answer that, right?" Popovich said, mockingly. "Because I decided to do something else!"

OK, let's quickly review Pop's incontestable decisions: He permitted his starting backcourt of Tony Parker and Stephen Jackson to shoot San Antonio (2-21) out of the game; he set up the game's last play for Manu Ginobili (3-10) whose form was noticeably off (in the humble estimation of someone who never coached an NBA game); and Speedy Claxton, who actually hit half of his six shots and engulfed two rebounds in traffic in the fourth, sat for the final 8:04.

"But it's not as if we didn't think about putting him back in the game," Pop qualified.

Yup, obviously, Popovich is right; imagine this unqualified correspondent second guessing him for not deploying Kerr . . . the guy who catapulted the Spurs into The Finals by coming off the bench stone cold and draining four 3-pointers in 13 minutes in Game 6 in Dallas? The gall of the guy!

I had several things on my mind when I caught up to Popovich seconds after he left the podium.

"I'm mad at you," Pop began to bully, not surprisingly. "You [bleeped] Tim. You set him up with those questions about free agents. You know damn well he can be fined for tampering if he names names."

"I did no such thing. I'm not that smart. Everyone [except league exec Stupe Jackson who is to David Stern what Charles Barkley is to Michael Jordan] knows who's about to become a free agent.

"Duncan never said he wanted one or the other, he merely said he prefers the Spurs sign a center," I sputtered as Popovich pulled away, refusing to discuss it any further, other than to preach to me about taking responsibility for what's under my byline.

This, I submit, is the fallout in today's NBA, where the priorities are ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^punishing the league's MVP/model citizen for harmless quotes and arranging Peter, Paul & Mary, Al Jolson and Boxcar Willie as the halftime entertainment for Games 5, 6 & 7.

Pop is right. I should be deeply ashamed of myself for asking an intelligent guy an intelligent question and getting a forthright answer.

At the same time, Popovich should be ashamed of himself for provoking the refs into giving him a technical in the third. Jason Kidd converted. The Spurs lost by one.

You'd think Pop would know better. I learned you don't get T-ed up in big games in '71, the first year I coached in the Rucker Tournament.

06-13-2003, 08:58 AM
I'm with coach Pop on this one. Vescey has a history of trying to stir things up by mentioning some stupid trades he heard on the streets, or made up himself.

Ummmmm Ok
06-13-2003, 09:02 AM
I actually thought this article was funny!!!

06-13-2003, 09:12 AM
This 'column', beyond any shadow of a doubt, proclaims Vescey as nothing more than an idiot gossip columnist. Popovich has been one of the best-regarded coaches in the league since taking over the Spurs, winning one championship already and in contention for a second one. He clearly is one of the best in his profession. I sure don't see anyone mentioning Vescey for a Pulitzer. Popovich out-asses him at his own game, and Petey sure doesn't like to be shown up by a mere basketball coach, who's probably never written so much as an obituary.

Particularly offensive was the reference to Popovich "lucking-into" Tim Duncan; is that similar to how Riley "lucked in to a team with Magic, Kareem, and Worthy; how K.C.Jones "lucked-into" a team with Bird, McHale and Parrish: how Billy C "lucked-into" a team with Dr. J and then Moses Malone; how Phil Jackson "lucked-into" Jordan et al, not to mention Shaq and Kobe? Like how Rudy T "lucked-into" Olajuwon? That's such a stupid, asinine shot to take. Puts Pop in pretty fine company though.

What about an assessment of Isiah Thomas's tenure with the Pacers, where despite "lucking into" a team with Jermaine O'Neal, Reggie Miller, Al Harrington, Jonathan Bender, Ron Artest, Brad Miller, and Jamal Crawford, Thomas got booted out of the playoffs without so much as a whimper. Vescey's fingers are apparently far too up one of his own orifices to bother writing anything that might make his erstwhile occasional booth-partner look accountable for the Pacers' miserable showing.

Even more revealing about Vescey's (possibly) drug-alcohol-and-bestiality-induced rant, was the silliness about how Pop's T cost the Spurs the game. Stupid to attempt to account for one point, much earlier in the game as the difference. Popovich was rightfully protesting a ridiculous series of no-calls against the Nets defending/(butchering) Duncan that resulted in his shooting a mere 3 FTs, despite taking 23 shots. If Vescey had any inclination to look for a real difference in the game, he might look THERE.

Instead, he pisses out his bitterness in a column, out of Popovich's presence, where Vescey apparently feels safer from being shown up himself. While I have doubts about what the Spurs might accomplish under Vescey's direction, I don't doubt that if Popovich started to write columns full of baseless, ilogical assertions and bitter, vitriolic jibes, he could accomplish every bit as much as Vescey ever will. But Vescey probably makes himself look dumber than Popovich could.

06-13-2003, 12:47 PM
wow, that article was hilarious. really brightened my afternoon. i've never read vescey before, but now i know why people hate him.

06-13-2003, 01:02 PM
i've never read vescey before,

I wouldn't read him again, especially when he say's he has the inside track to a trade or something, he's usually wrong(by usually I mean always).

06-13-2003, 01:07 PM
I wouldn't read him again, especially when he say's he has the inside track to a trade or something, he's usually wrong(by usually I mean always).

thanks for the warning. if i read him again, it will be for pure entertainment...i won't believe anything he says.

06-13-2003, 01:12 PM
Kiki...your columns are a lot better than Vescey's and have always been....keep it coming. You get extreme style points for that last post.

Big Boy Laroux
06-13-2003, 01:46 PM
i agree 100% kiki. but crawford doesn't play for the pacers... i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif guess you meant tinsley?

06-14-2003, 11:26 PM
Vescey is the ultimate jackass.

06-15-2003, 12:02 AM
Columns are supposed to infuriate the masses. Kevin Blackistone's columns often do you either hate him or you love him. If you just said the best players with the best coaching wins titles no one would read it. I don't care for vescey but pops just an ass.

06-15-2003, 12:03 AM
popovich is awfully sarcastic. ugly, too.

veruca salt
06-15-2003, 01:46 AM
Originally posted by: MavKikiNYC
This 'column', beyond any shadow of a doubt, proclaims Vescey as nothing more than an idiot gossip columnist..

That's the feeling I got while I was reading it. It also smacks of a journalist who wants to feel like a celebrity.
Although I did enjoy the article,it was great for a laugh, it wasn't really a sports article.
"And then i said this!! And guess what...he said this back to me" "no way, get out" "seriously"
Grow up Vescey.