As we all know, Gregg Popovich is very good at coaching basketball. Like one of the best ever, really. It’s not up for debate, so don’t even think about debating it. Just stop.
But also, because he’s so good at motivating his players, we can learn a lot about life from Pop. You’ll see what I mean when you take a close look at a fan Q&A he did with Spurs.com. If you search hard enough, there’s some really solid nuggets of advice packed in there. Let’s take a peak.
LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOUR MISTAKES
Question: What is your favorite thing a reporter has ever asked you?
Gregg Popovich: (Chuckles) I’m just going to assume that I’ve never had a favorite. I’ve had some real wing-dingers that they’ve asked me but I can’t say they’re favorites.
Or better yet, (chuckles) at them. Either way, sometimes you just have to laugh at some of the silly things you’ve done in the past. Maybe you’ve got a reputation for being openly abrasive to people who are just trying to do their job, but that doesn’t mean you can’t laugh at the absurdity of that being true. You can and it’s fun, just like using the word “wing-dingers” in a sentence.
DON’T COMPROMISE YOUR MORALS
Question: What about [listening to] any of Stephen Jackson’s [music]?
GP: Jack used to try to give me some of his tapes, but, first of all I couldn’t even understand what was going on, and some of them you could even dance to, but once I started hearing what they were saying and everything I just gave them back.
We already knew that Popovich doesn’t listen to Stephen Jackson’s rap, but it’s good to finally know the reason — he doesn’t like all the swearing, at least when he’s able to understand it. And that’s important to remember. Whenever you’re listening to music and start to get offended by the language, it’s OK to turn if off and realize it’s not for you. Then, make sure you return the offending music to wherever you got it, just like when my mom took the Green Day “Dookie” tape she had just bought me back to Walmart when she heard all that cussing. Whoever you’re giving it back to will always take it back, no questions asked.
READ A LOT (AND ALSO DON’T FINISH BOOKS)
Question: What books are you reading in the offseason?
GP: I usually have a group of books that I read at the same time because I never sit long with one and I’ve got something to do and get back to it, but at this point I’m close to finishing a book about Stalin and another book about Putin. And then on the fiction side I’m trying to get through a book called Ulysses, but I’m not man enough for it. Too difficult to understand, too many big words, concepts that are way over my head, but I’ve always told myself I have to tackle this. I do about every three years try to read it. I’ve never had success yet.
Reading is important, no matter what form. Maybe your favorite thing to read is a basketball jokes website written in Canada by an American, I don’t know. This is just a totally random example that I just completely made up off the top of my head, but itt could be anything, really, just as long as your reading. It’s one of the best ways to learn things.
And when you’re reading, don’t be afraid to not finish your books. Sure, you’re probably going to miss out on a lot of endings and vital information, but if you’re not man enough to finish, then don’t finish. Books last forever, plus it’s fun to put a bookmark in a book, forget about it and then come back some time later to accidentally find that picture of you and your best friend dressed up as Wayne and Garth for a college Halloween party.
KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE
Question: I know you’re a wine man, but I was wondering, what’s your favorite beer?
GP: Stroh’s. In the tall bottle.
If somebody asks you what you like, in any sort of category, you should be able to answer them with no more than five words. Brevity is the soul of getting your point across, as the saying goes.
DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT
Question: What advice do you have for aspiring basketball coaches (other than get Tim Duncan as your centerpiece)?
GP: Buy a coat and a tie, and get a job.
Hey hippie, enough of this “needing advice” and “asking questions” and “being on the internet.” Just get out there, put on some nice clothes and get your life together. It’s not that hard, OK? Learn a four-in-hand knot and you’re good. And button your jacket while you’re at it.
So there you have it, five easy tidbits to make your life better, courtesy of Gregg Popovich. Combine that with brusque answers and the best big man of his generation and you’re well on your way to becoming a four-time NBA champion. It’s that easy.