Today, Gregg Popovich is widely recognized as one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. Over 26 seasons as coach of the Spurs, has amassed over 1,300 wins and 5 NBA Championships.
Before all that, though, he was brought into the front office to serve as Vice President and GM of the Spurs.
As good as he was as a coach, his role as an executive was not so smooth early on. NBA legend Dennis Rodman once wrote in his book, 'Bad as I Wanna Be' (published in 1996), that Pop, the GM, was once the biggest problem in San Antonio.
Rodman played for the organization from 1993 to 1995.
“The biggest problem in San Antonio was Gregg Popovich, the general manager. He wanted to be the coach and the general manager. He stood around and held Bob Hill's hand every day, saying, "Okay, you've got to do this now. It's time for you to listen to me." If Hill didn't do it, Popovich would jump his a**, and so HIll would turn around and jump somebody else's ass. Shit flows downhill, and it seemed like I was always at the bottom. Other than the playoffs I didn't have much of a problem with Bob Hill. He was being used as much as I was. Popovich wanted to be the guy who tamed Dennis Rodman, and he tried to use Hill to do his dirty work. That was Popovich's big challenge. Mr. Military was going to make me a good little boy, a good soldier. He lost sight of everything else, and then when he decided he couldn't do anything with me, he badmouthed me and gave me away for next to nothing. Then he pretended it was good for the team."
Rodman is obviously an eccentric character. His teammates and friends have always described him as a vibrant and unfiltered guy. Throughout his tenure with the Bulls, he was always hosting or attending wild parties.
Popovich, who is known as an old-school disciplinarian, probably didn't appreciate that side of Rodman's personality.
Pop eventually traded Rodman and crowned himself coach of the team ahead of the 1996-97 season. Dennis would go on to win three titles with the Chicago Bulls.
Looking back, it's fair to say things worked out okay for both sides.