Gregg Popovich, loves wine as much as basketball

Along with a coaching career that is clear all-time in all respects, Gregg Popovich is, as you know, a great lover… of wine. In fact, the Spurs coach, who has seen Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker parade under his orders, is very attached to his other passion: tasting grape beverages. The orange balloon is his profession, the balloon glass is his pleasure.

How does one begin an article about Gregg Popovich’s love of wine without sending up a tantalizing comparison between his Spurs and the drink? In 20 years, his Spurs have matured into a vintage that will be remembered for a very long time. The kind of bottle that can be opened for any occasion and in any year, while remaining a guarantee of a unique taste.

Le Pop also knows something about this: it has a cellar of around 3,000 bottles. A sacred stock that proves unequivocally that the man is an expert. In the NBA, many players are directly or indirectly associated with the pleasure of tasting and collecting fine bottles of wine. An example? Stephen Curry, who owns a property with his wife Ayesha in the famous Napa Valley in California, known for its perfect Mediterranean climate and its production of prestigious wines, or even CJ McCollum, a committed novice to good country bowling and he is a producer. However, the boss of the Great League in terms of passion for oenology is Gregg Popovich and no one else.

A nice little anecdote to support this point? Many prestigious league players, eager to learn about wine, asked Pop’ to dine on a fine bottle. This is how Paul Pierce evokes a meal between Kevin Durant and the Spurs coach in Las Vegas.

“In Vegas, there was a moment when Kevin Durant went to Pop’ to ask him to teach him about alcohol. Pop took the opportunity to take him out to eat, taste a bottle and talk to him about different wines” – Paul Pierce.

Raised the hard way in the military of the US Air Force, the future coach of Spurs did not set out to find a passion for Dionysus’ favorite drink. In fact, upon leaving his studies the technician from San Antonio learned to appreciate wine, because he was transferred to one of the most prestigious vineyards in North America, in the heart of California.

“When I graduated from the Air Force Military Academy, I was first posted to California in the early 70s. he is now. It was a time when you could go to the vineyards without paying, just with two other people. The winegrowers show you everything and let you taste directly from the barrels. They land with you, bring you food and spend the whole afternoon there. It’s just great. I fell in love with wine at the time” – Gregg Popovich.

Gregg is also known for not counting when it comes to having a good time with a good bottle. There are many anecdotes from players and coaches that describe a man who used to show up at a restaurant several hours before the agreed meal time. The idea? Discuss with the staff and managers of the establishment, the dishes and bottles offered on the menu. Yes, it is clearly a passion on that level.

And if you happen to settle for Pop’ at the end of the night? ESPN reporter Baxter Holmes explained that the coach was able to drop four-figure tips, but also tickets for Spurs games to restaurant employees. When you love, you can’t be counted, huh… and Don Nelson, a great NBA coach, shows it with numbers.

“He spends more on food and wine than I do on salary” – Don Nelson

A love that would even push the man to join forces with winemaking specialists to move to the other side of the business: making drinks. For several years, he owned shares in several Oregon vineyards managed by the company A to Z wineworks, which specializes in Pinot Noir. The culmination of a passion for the coach.

“I go there every chance I get. I work with amazing winemakers, and the managers are amazing people. I have known them for a long time. They work together in a great way, so it’s cool to be a part of it. It’s different from basketball” – Gregg Popovich.

Someone as complicated as wine, finally. Emphasizing his relationships with the players, Popovich often makes a habit of calling his troops to the restaurant to chat over a nice evening meal. Passion for service at work, what’s better than serious life?

With some French under his command, such as Tony Parker but also Boris Diaw and Nando De Colo, Gregg Popovich was able to share his love of wine with the natives of the country that produces the best vintages in the world. Boris Diaw explained that he often had the opportunity to taste French wines with his coach. Also fond of oenology, the former player of Éperon probably did not shy away from his pleasure in the evenings of color and color analysis.

A life spent to satisfy his great pleasure, which can only end – as long as possible – after tasting as many different references as possible. While with certainty his passion was passed on.

“My goal is to drink as much of it as possible before I die, so my kids don’t drink 7up and make sangria out of the wine. That’s my goal” – Gregg Popovich.

Basketball win, wine win. One never seems to lose one to Gregg Popovich. An iron discipline, which finds its moments of respite in the cultivation of a prestigious passion. Look no further, we’ve pretty much defined what has made Spurs so successful for nearly 20 years.

Sources: ESPN, Yahoo Sports, Business Insider, Nouvel Obs

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