Last night the Heat came away with a very improbable victory, down 13 points in the 3rd quarter of Game 6 in the NBA finals. Certainly, execution on the part of the Heat is to be commended. Mike Miller and Chris Bosh came up with big rebounds that led to even bigger three pointers by Lebron James and Ray Allen allowing the Heat to extend the game to overtime. Additionally, however, some ineptitude on the part of the Spurs is also to blame. Missed free throws, poor defensive rebounding, and an offensive collapse in the 4th quarter are among a few of said ineptitudes. Gregg Popovich, as much as he would like to deflect it, isn’t devoid of responsibility either.
Why were Tim Duncan and Tony Parker on the bench as the Spurs softened early in the 4th quarter? Why was Duncan again on the bench late in the 4th when the aforementioned crucial rebounds and three point baskets were made by the Heat? Why was your hall of fame power forward on the bench AT ALL in the latter portion of a potential series clinching game of the NBA Finals? Why was Manu Ginobli tasked with the responsibility to win the game at the end? And why did you choose not to foul to eliminate the possibility of threatening 3 point baskets?
All legitimate questions. All, perhaps, with legitimate answers. I don’t claim to be basketball Yoda. But, we’ll never know because Gregg Popovich is a jerk. Great coach. One of the best ever. But he’s a jerk to media personnel of all types: Sideline reporters, beat writers, national and international columnists alike. What was once a mildly amusing act is now old, stale, and tremendously unfunny. Frankly, I’m tired of it, and I’ve grown increasingly enraged by each episode.
When asked about why he didn’t foul to eliminate a possible game tying three point attempt he answered:
“That’s that European question, right?”
“Yes,” said the reporter “We usually do that in Italy and Europe, anyways.”
“Right. We don’t,” snapped Popovich.
Sports reporting and sports media is a profession. We didn’t invent it, we’re just taking advantage of it. Turns out, it’s a pretty cool gig. We’re taking advantage of covering children’s games just as you’ve taken advantage of coaching one. This is our job, our livelihood. We have families to feed and bills to pay.
Would you prefer the NBA not be so popular? A game i’m assuming you love. A game in which you take pride. Would you prefer that your precious sport, which has given you so much, not provide the same lessons and opportunities to as many people as possible? Would you prefer that it not provide you with generational wealth? Fame? Of course you wouldn’t.
In many cases, reporters must be better. Bad questions get bad answers. I understand. Regardless, stop treating them like trash.
People are interested in your sport, Gregg. They’re interested in you, and your team, and your league. They view your knowledge and expertise as something to behold. Give it to them.
–Alec Campbell, Sports Radio 92.9 The Game
Find Alec on Twitter @AlecCampbell5