The 19-year connection between Gregg Popovich and the best player he ever coached, Tim Duncan, goes deeper than basketball. Less than a week after Duncan retired in July, Popovich admitted that he took his role as a quasi-surrogate father to Duncan—at the behest of Duncan's biological father William before he passed away—very seriously. This evidently even meant fulfilling Duncan's sweet tooth.
In an interview with the San Antonio Express-News Thursday, it was reported that Duncan loved carrot cake and Pop took note of that early on in the future Hall of Famer's career. While away on the road, Pop reportedly used to look for the best restaurant to eat at in the Spurs' opponent's respective city, eat there, and then buy a carrot cake to take back to the team's hotel in a doggy bag for Duncan. Like a true loving dad, Pop would nicely place next to Duncan's hotel room door.
Here's an excerpt of the article below detailing Pop's gesture for Duncan below:
It was the thoughtful act of a father. Gregg Popovich would go to a Zagat-approved restaurant on the road with his staff, and sometimes, toward the end of the meal, he would ask the waiter for a small carrot cake to go.
He would then leave the package outside Tim Duncan’s hotel door, and Popovich’s original thinking was simple. He knew Duncan loved carrot cake.
But they say this became a road ritual that went on for years, and that the gesture was about more than a late-night snack. It was a nod to partnership and appreciation.
Talk about favoritism from a coach—this is the epitome of a father loving one son better than all his other kids, or rather, Spurs players on his roster.