Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich joined forces to lead Team USA to the gold medal in the 2021 Summer Olympics. With Pop leading the way and Kerr working as an assistant coach, the squad recovered their status in international basketball, beating France in the gold-medal game.
After all the things they lived prior to the Olympic tournament, the victory was sweeter, especially for Pop, who doesn't have big aspirations with the San Antonio Spurs. Kerr talked about this in a recent interview, claiming that Pop is aware he doesn't have a chance to win another championship with the Spurs.
Talking with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, Kerr explained what this moment means for the legendary head coach.
Pop expressed the relief very clearly. Were you all at all fretting about the pressures that were building on him?
I wasn’t worried about him because he can handle all this stuff. He’s a grown man. I just wanted to win so badly for him and for (retiring USA Basketball managing director) Jerry Colangelo, given that for both of them, it’s a swan song from Team USA. And for Jerry to go out undefeated in the Olympics, took over the program in ’04 and won four Olympic golds, what an accomplishment for him.
And for Pop, this is, in many ways, the cherry on the top of the sundae for his coaching career. He’s obviously still going, but the Spurs, they’re not going to win a championship. Pop will be the first to tell you that. In many ways, this is sort of a fitting topping to his incredible career. To add a gold medal, just an amazing accomplishment.
Pop has had a terrific career, winning five championships in six trips to the Finals. He will go down as one of the best coaches of all time, but it seems like his championship window closed when the Spurs traded Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors in 2018.
He has a good young team, but seeing the league's current state, the Spurs don't have any chance of making it to the Finals and winning the championship again.