Gregg Popovich is fed up with President Donald Trump.
The San Antonio Spurs head coach did not mince words in his response to the president, who last week called out Popovich and Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr in wake of the NBA’s current controversy with China.
"All I did was make a comparison between Adam Silver's show of principle and courage in a tough situation, as opposed to how our president reacts in the company of authoritarian figures," Popovich told reporters Sunday, before a Spurs preseason game against the New Orleans Pelicans. "Whether it's Saudi Arabia or North Korea or Russia or Turkey, or whatever it is, he comes off as pretty feckless, impotent, and cowardly by comparison.”
The legendary coach also reiterated his support for the commissioner.
“Adam Silver, that was fraught with economic peril, but he stood by our nation and its principles,” Popovich said, according to reports. “That’s pretty huge these days. Sometimes it’s kind of Orwellian. We think we are living in a place where, ‘Is this really happening?’ But that comparison is pretty stark, when you put our president up against those leaders when he is with them or talking to them and how he reacts compared with the way Adam Silver reacted. I was proud of him. It was great.”
Last week, Popovich said he supports Adam Silver and that the NBA commissioner has been “very courageous” in the face of pressure from the Chinese government. Kerr chose to sidestep answering questions on China, opting instead to comment on “things I feel well-versed about.”
“He’s been a heck of a leader in that respect and very courageous,” Popovich told reporters Tuesday. “Compared to what we’ve had to live through the last three years, there’s a big difference gap there leadership-wise and courage-wise.”
Trump did not take those words well, of course. The president went after both Popovich and Kerr during a press conference at the White House, saying both coaches "talk badly about the United States but when [they] talk about China, they don't want to say anything bad."