Coach Gregg Popovich tied the NBA record for most wins with one team, earning his 1,127th as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 102-86 at the AT&T Center Thursday night.

Popovich Tied the ex-utah jazz coach after 21 seasons with spurs

“When you get all those wins, it’s just a longevity thing more than anything,” Popovich said. “So I’m thankful for having the job for a while.”

The 68-year-old coach, who has led the Spurs since 1996, tied the record set by former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, thanks partly to San Antonio forcing a season-high 24 turnovers, while Kawhi Leonard led the way with 19 points, two steals and two blocks. Popovich has modeled much of what he’s done with the Spurs on Sloan’s program over 23 seasons in Utah (1988-2011).

Popovich has won five NBA championships with San Antonio, although he said Sloan “is in a different league than me.”

“[Utah] was then, and still is, a class organization, and we tried to do it similarly to them as far as how we conducted the program, what we expected, how to do it, how to keep it to yourself, and that sort of thing,” Popovich said.

The Spurs helped their coach achieve his latest milestone despite playing without top front-court players LaMarcus Aldridge (sore right knee) and Pau Gasol (fractured fourth metacarpal in left hand). The Sixers, however, were even more shorthanded, with Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Robert Covington sitting out.

San Antonio finished with seven double-digit scorers, including Leonard and Dewayne Dedmon, (13 points and 10 rebounds) who recorded his second double-double as a Spur. Davis Bertans, Patty Mills, Danny Green and David Lee each contributed 12 points apiece, while Jonathon Simmons contributed 11.

Popovich also recently voiced his opinions, in an interview, on Black History Month– which is celebrated yearly in February– race relations in America, and other major social and political topics and how he viewed these issued to have evolved in recent years leading up to the election of President Donald Trump.

Here is what the coach said, per Michael C. Wright of EPSN.com:

“Well, it’s a remembrance, and a bit of a celebration in some ways. It sounds odd because we’re not there yet, but it’s always important to remember what has passed and what is being experienced now by the black population. It’s a celebration of some of the good things that have happened, and a reminder that there’s a lot more work to do.

But more than anything, I think if people take the time to think about it, I think it is our national sin. It always intrigues me when people come out with, “I’m tired of talking about that,” or, “Do we have to talk about race again?” And the answer is, “You’re damned right we do.” Because it’s always there, and it’s systemic, in the sense that when you talk about opportunity, it’s not about, “Well, if you lace up your shoes and you work hard, then you can have the American dream.” That’s a bunch of hogwash.

If you were born white, you automatically have a monstrous advantage — educationally, economically, culturally, in this society and all the systemic roadblocks that exist, whether it’s in a judicial sense, a neighborhood sense with laws, zoning, education. We have huge problems in that regard that are very complicated, but take leadership, time, and real concern to try to solve. It’s a tough one because people don’t really want to face it.

And it’s in our national discourse. We have a president of the United States [Donald Trump] who spent four or five years disparaging and trying to [de]legitimize our president [Barack Obama]. And we know that was a big fake. But still, [he] felt for some reason it had to be done. I can still remember a paraphrase close to a quote “investigators were sent to Hawaii and you cannot believe what they found.” Well, that was a lie. So if it’s being discussed and perpetrated at that level, you’ve got a national problem.

I think that’s enough.”

For some readers/listeners, Popovich’s comments may seem like too much rather than just “enough,” while others surely found it to be an honest assessment of the current state of race relations in the United States.

In either case, the fact that a prominent white public figure in a predominantly black sport is stating that we still have many problems to solve regarding race in America will undoubtedly resonate with many fans who are passionate about the issue.

SAN ANTONIO,TX – MAY 10: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs reacts during game against the Oklahoma City in game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 10, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.

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