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Before Game 1, Gregg Popovich helped a reporter with a crossword puzzle

Apr 22, 2013, 9:23 AM EDT

Gregg Popovich AP

Gregg Popovich doesn’t care about the public perception of him as a curmudgeon. He honestly doesn’t care what people think. Period.

But he’s not a curmudgeon. He can by curmudgeonly, but there is a lot more to him than that one side. A really good profile of Pops by Joe Posnanski at NBC got at that. If you pique his interest on something, Popovich can be helpful and enlightening.

Here is an example of that side of him, based on what happened before Game 1 of the Spurs series against the Lakers Sunday (a game the Spurs went on to win). From the Spurs blog at the Express-News.

He used the word “discombobulated,” and the following exchange actually took place. A reporter told him, coincidentally, that “discombobulated” had come up in a recent New York Times crossword puzzle. Did Popovich happen to know a word, six letters and ending in “y,” that means the same?

For those who only see the terse side of his interaction with the media: Popovich wrote a note before the game and sent it to the reporter with two suggestions.

Punchy and groggy.

I have no idea if those were correct (in a quick search online I couldn’t find the puzzle in doubt, and certainly didn’t have time to solve it if I had).

But that’s Popovich. He’s not a simple guy easy to paint into a preconceived box, he’s a rounded and complex person. Who just happens to be the best coach in the game.

  1. bucrightoff - Apr 22, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    If there’s a couple things Pop knows, its crosswords, merlots, and how to coach basketball.

  2. andrewproughcfe - Apr 22, 2013 at 10:32 AM


  3. mazblast - Apr 22, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    You’re the best in your field and few give you any credit. The big boss in your “company” clearly hates you and your “division” for the high crime of doing your job well, and loves to stick it to you whenever possible.

    You’d be a curmudgeon, too.

  4. nepatriots128154 - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Did you just figure out the meaning of the word “curmudgeon?”

  5. rostar83 - Apr 22, 2013 at 2:56 PM


  6. 13arod - Apr 22, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    i wish this guy would retire doesn’t know basketball

    • michaeljordanseviltwin - Apr 22, 2013 at 9:33 PM

      Congratulations! You said the most blatantly untrue thing on the internet today.

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