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Dominique Wilkins talks about his time with the San Antonio Spurs and Gregg Popovich: "He didn’t care if you didn’t like it or not"

Despite playing for only one season in San Antonio, Nique said he’s still honored to have been under the tutelage of a brilliant coach in Gregg Popovich
Dominique Wilkins on his time with the Spurs and Gregg Popovich

Dominique Wilkins, Gregg Popovich

Not all NBA players have impeccable dedication, and not all play their hearts out every night. And certainly, not all are like NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins.

For sure, many are familiar with the legacy of “The Human Highlight Film” as his high-flying dunks enamored fans. But for those who don’t know, Wilkins was also a warrior, a consistent scorer, who gave it all he got whenever he was on the floor.

A disappointing run with the Spurs

In 1995, Wilkins left the NBA to play in Greece. He was already 36 years old at the time but still undeniably a player who could score in bunches on any given night. The following season, Nique made an epic NBA return and joined the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs did not have much success during that year, finishing the season with only 20 wins. As he looked back at it, Wilkins said he and the rest of the team competed at the highest level, but it was just “a tough season” as they were plagued with injuries.

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“We had too many injuries,” Wilkins told My San Antonio in 2015. “A lot of key people were injured, so it made for a tough season, but we competed. We just didn’t have enough because all of our big guys were hurt.”

Nique lauds Pop

After an underwhelming spell with the Spurs, Wilkins decided to take his talents overseas once again and left for Italy this time. Despite playing for only one season in San Antonio, Nique said he’s still honored to have been under the tutelage of a brilliant coach in Gregg Popovich.

“Pop was great,” Wilkins recalled. “Pop told you what you needed to hear instead of what you wanted to hear, and he didn’t care if you didn’t like it or not. His job was to coach you to be the best player you could be and I loved playing for him.”

“To see where he started and where he’s at now... he was a determined coach,” he added. “He was a very smart coach. He knew X’s and O’s. He knew how to put people in the position to be successful. Nothing surprised me with him.”

Right after Wilkins’ lone season with the Spurs, Tim Duncan arrived in San Antonio, and the rest, as they say, is history. Looking back, that unfortunate twist of fate made Wilkins’ time with the Spurs another “what if” case in the NBA.

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