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LeBron: ‘I love coach Pop…one of my favorite guys ever'

LeBron says he admires and respects Popovich on and off the court

SAN ANTONIO – Despite the Cleveland Cavaliers losing to San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night, fans celebrated one of the greatest achievements LeBron James can accomplish in his career in becoming the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 points.

And while many headlines were about the LeBron’s historic accomplishment following Tuesday’s 114-102 loss, James made time during his postgame interview to talk about one of his all-time favorite people: Gregg Popovich.

When asked about his relationship with the Spurs head coach, James went on to spend half of his interview sharing how much he admires the five-time NBA champion and three-time NBA Coach of the Year. 

“Man, I love coach Pop, love coach Pop. He’s one of my favorite guys ever,” James said. “Admiring him, respecting him, being a competitor against him and his ball club, I love everything that Pop represents both on and off the floor.”

Since coming into the league, LeBron said he’s learned a lot from Popovich having spent “so much time with him over the course of being part of USA basketball since ’04.”

One of the most significant lessons he’s learned from Popovich may sound simple to some, but for LeBron, it doesn’t come easy and without it, you will find yourself unsuccessful.

“At the end of the day, it’s about preparation. If it’s one guy in our sport from a coaching standpoint, Pop is right there at the top when it comes to preparation,” James said. 

“I can respect that because I’m a guy that’s high on preparation ever since I came into the league…when you see someone like that and seeing the success they had, those things don’t just happen. Success just doesn’t happen; you have to work for it, you have to prepare for it (and) you have to put in the hours and time.”

While many would love to hear what the tutor had to say about the lesson possibly factoring into LeBron reaching the 30,000-point milestone on Tuesday, don’t bother asking. 

“Coach, you gave a big hug to LeBron after the game what did you say to him?” a reporter asked Popovich in his postgame interview. 

“None of your business,” Popovich responded.

LeBron went on to also share his gratitude to San Antonio after he received a standing ovation from Spurs fans at the AT&T Center when it was announced he had achieved the 30,000-point mark during the game.

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Following his 28 point performance Tuesday night, James currently sits 8th in the NBA Career Leaders for Points list with 30,021 points right behind Hall-of-Famer Julius Irving who has 30,026 points.

FOR SAN ANTONIO STORY IDEAS, EMAIL: agarcia@ksat.com


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