Gregg Popovich: Why Donald Trump ‘Scares the Hell out of Me’

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Back in Septemeber, an impassioned, impromptu speech on race relations from Gregg Popovich led a reporter to ask the San Antonio Spurs head coach if he'd ever consider a bid for president.

Pop laughed it off, telling media members "You all know me … I’d get in trouble real quickly” and "I’m not smart enough."

But judging by his recent comments about the president the United States elected after he made those comments, he might want to reconsider his justifications for staying out of the political arena.

The Spurs coach took exception to Donald Trump and his staff's blatant, unnerving lies about the size of his inauguration crowd.

“The CIA today, instead of honoring the 117 people behind him where he was speaking, he talked about the size of the crowd," Popovich said on Saturday, before his team beat the Cleveland Cavaliers. "That’s worrisome. That’s worrisome. I’d just feel better if someone was in that position that showed the maturity and psychological and emotional level of someone that was his age. It’s dangerous and it doesn’t do us any good.”

Popovich, who served in the Air Force for five years after graduating from the United States Air Force Academy, then revealed what really terrifies him about the new administration: that his staff seems willing to say and do anything to cover up their boss' missteps. 

“And what really bothers me are the people around him, the Sean Spicers (press secretary), the Kellyanne Conways (counselor), the Reince Priebuses (chief of staff), who know who he is and actually have the cynical approach and disingenuous attitude to really defend him and make him look like he didn’t say what he said," Pop said. "When he’s mad at the media for them reporting what he said, it just boggles my mind. When Kellyanne Conway said the other day he wasn’t really making fun of the handicapped person. It’s incredible. It really makes you wonder how far would someone go to actually cover for somebody that much. I think the comment was,’ You have to look in his heart. You don’t know what’s in his heart. He wouldn’t do that.’ But he did it.

“And all the things he said during that time, if our children would have said it, we would have grounded them for six months. Without a doubt. But we ignore all that, because … because why? That says something about all of us. And that’s what’s dangerous. That’s what scares the hell out of me to this day and makes me uneasy.”

Popovich also basically went out and called the president a thin-skinned narcissist. 

“Well I think you know when the media reports what he says, I’m not sure why he can get angry about that," he said. "But it does boggle the mind how somebody can be so thin-skinned. It’s all obvious, it’s about him. If anything affects him, if it’s Saturday Night Live or Hamilton, or she got three more million votes than you. ‘They’re illegal.’ It doesn’t matter what it is, there’s a pattern there. And that’s dangerous."

But it wasn't all doom and gloom for Popovich in the media session. The five-time NBA champion said Saturday's worldwide women's march gave him hope for the future.

“But I felt great today watching the march, in protest to how he has conducted himself, because it tells me I really do live in a country where a lot of people care," Pop said. "We have to be vigilant, to be sure. Although we all hope he does good things for our country, that we don’t get embarrassed by him and roll back liberties that have been worked for for so long in so many different areas.”

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