SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) -Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich is at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 because of his age. He admits he was hesitant, at first, to head to Florida for the restart of the NBA season amid the pandemic.
“Being 71 years old, I thought,’ is this where I want to spend a lot of my time, doing this under these circumstances?'” Popovich asked himself.
He talked to NBA commissioner Adam Silver about all of the precautions he and his staff are taking and was reassured that they’re doing everything they can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as they keep the players in a so-called “bubble.”
“If this bubble works, I’m safer here than I would be in Texas, for sure,” Popovich said during a zoom conference from Florida Saturday as the Lone Star state reported a one-day record high of 10,351 new cases.’
The Spurs coach said he hasn’t focused on basketball during their time off. Instead, he spent time with family and did some reading about the history of Blacks in the United States. Popovich told reporters at Saturday’s Zoom session that he thought he was informed about injustice and inequity , but “we didn’t know crap.”
He cited an article in the New York Times by Nikole Hannah-Jones, which he urged people to read.
Race relations are at the forefront as the NBA resumes its 2019-2020 season. Players and coaches are using the NBA’s platform in Orlando to call attention to police brutality and social injustice. They’re allowing players to wear uniforms with personal messages such as “Black Lives Matter,” and “I can’t breathe.”
“The message that the league wants to send is equity and no injustice for anyone,” said Popovich. “Making sure people have to think about it everyday, whether it’s a coach or a player speaking up, it’s the momentum that we have to keep.”
The Spurs coach says change doesn’t come without applying pressure to those in power. He said cities across the country are now taking actions to weed out bad police officers and limit the power of police unions, but he went a step further.
“More importantly than that, we have to get to the reparations discussion,” said Popovich.