For the first time in 22 years, the San Antonio Spurs won’t be in the NBA playoffs. That ties the Spurs with the 76ers for the longest in playoff streak in NBA history. The 76ers went to the playoffs every year from 1950 through 1971. As expected, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich won’t lose sleep over it.
“That stuff’s totally [not] important; what’s important is the moment you do what you’ve got to do, then you move on, but looking at the past doesn’t do much good. Any success we’ve had has been because we’ve had some great players.”Gregg Popovich, ESPN
To put the streak into context, here are some reference points, things that were not around when the Spurs started the streak 22 years ago. Google, Facebook, YouTube, The International Space Station, Bluetooth, the USB flash drive, and Mac OS X, Spongebob, and Family Guy. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, 117 active NBA players were born on or after April 20, 1997 — the final day of the Spurs’ 1996-97 season, when they previously missed the playoffs before this season.
But the Spurs were never about records, except one. They don’t hang division banners or glorify individuals. The only thing that matters is championship banners, and Pop feels they have a bright future ahead of them.
“I’m more excited about this than anything you guys are talking about right now, successes or non-successes, because the success for streaks or whatever the hell you’re talking about ended. I could care less about that. I’m thrilled at the way they played here.”Gregg Popovich, ESPN
In the end, Pop used his last post-game interview of the season to yet again speak up on social issues in America. One issue in particular. After calling Trump “obviously racist by any measure,” Pop did his best impression of the President.
Will Pop be back? We don’t know. There are a lot of good coaches on the Spurs bench as it is, so that’s no issue. Whenever he decides to retire, we will probably find out like we did when his best player ever retired. A simple press release from the San Antonio Spurs saying, “Gregg Popovich is retiring from the head coaching position.”
The most important quality for a Spur in the last 22 years? Getting over yourself.