Popovich calls MLK ‘modern founding father,’ says King would be sad ‘white supremacists’ stormed Capitol

Spurs head coach reflects on Martin Luther King’s legacy amid riots at US Capitol

SAN ANTONIO – Gregg Popovich shared his thoughts Monday on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Spurs head coach said Dr. King was an “iconic figure and remains so to this day.”

“He’s basically like a modern Founding Father in the sense he’s been like the conscience of the country in trying to seek equal justice and equality for everyone and of course for the Black population, which has been so egregiously downtrodden for so many centuries,” Popovich said.

Popovich then speculated on what Dr. King would say today amid racial tensions and division the country is facing in the wake of the attack by rioters and pro-Donald Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol.

“I can’t get in somebody else’s head, who would even try with somebody as iconic as him to figure out how many different ideas he had, but I think he would be pretty sad to think about over 50 years ago all the work he did for voting rights and to see especially this administration has trampled that, tried to fight it back, try to cut it and demolish it. He would have to witness the savage attacks on black bodies that we’ve seen that have not stopped, even become more blatant.

I think it would sadden him to see the Capitol being stormed with white supremacists getting a free pass as they exhibit their white privilege, Confederate flags in the Capitol. That would be a difficult time for him, but at the same time, I think what makes them so special is his consistent perseverance to try to make white people understand what the hell they’re doing by continuing this ignorance.”

Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 when Popovich was in the Air Force Academy.

Popovich said looking back at King’s life, he is astounded by his hopefulness and perseverance, and believes King would smile today if he “was able to see Rev. (Raphael) Warnock be the first black man elected to the Georgia Senate, to see the state turn blue with efforts of all the organizations.”

“I think he would feel a sense of some calm, maybe some pride in the fact that we were able to go through what we went through for four years, to see how it culminated in the Capitol uprising and know that that same country has elected a man who is decent, just plain decent, which gives us a chance to be a country. So for all those reasons, this man, complicated as he was and driven as he was for justice, needs to be honored today.”

The Spurs played the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday afternoon as the NBA continued its tradition of honoring the Civil Rights icon.


About the Author

RJ Marquez has been at KSAT since 2010. He's covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area, and is the lead reporter for KSAT Explains. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms. You can see RJ regularly on KSAT Explains and Good Morning San Antonio.

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