WATCH: Spurs’ Gregg Popovich Attacks Trump, Not China, While Defending Adam Silver

Gregg Popovich
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich launched into an attack on President Trump Tuesday, while defending NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s response to China, one of the world’s biggest human rights abusers.

Popovich went off on the president ahead of Tuesday’s preseason game against the Miami Heat, and led with his sympathy for NBA chief Silver for being in a tight spot as the Chinese rise in anger over a tweet by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey who announced his support for pro-democracy demonstrators in Chinese-owned Hong Kong.

Indeed, the famously woke NBA coach who holds forth on all sorts of human rights issues during his ubiquitous press conferences ,was very happy with how the NBA has cozied up with China.

Popovich even took a swipe at Donald Trump as he praised Silver.

“Freedom of speech, it felt great again,” Popovich told reporters. “So, he’s been a heck of a leader in that respect, and very courageous. And when you compare it to what we’ve had to live through the last three years, it’s a big difference, a big gap, leadership wise and courage wise.”

“And it wasn’t easy for him to say,” Popovich said of Silver’s reaction to the China controversy. “He said that in an environment fraught with possible economic peril. But he sided with the principles that we all hold dearly, or most of us did until the last three years. So I’m thrilled with what he said.

“Adam is a very progressive leader,” Popovich added. “We all remember how he handled the situation with the former owner of the Clippers, which made everybody proud because it was the right thing to do. A couple years ago — I can’t remember, time goes by quickly, two, three, four years ago — I was walking the streets of New York City during the Gay Pride parade, and I turned around and here comes a float and Adam’s standing on the float with a big sign in support of LGBTQ and I felt great again, just like I did with the Clipper deal.

“And then we come out strongly for freedom of speech. I felt great again,” Popovich concluded.

But the famously progressive coach completely avoided any discussion of the terrible human rights abuses the Chinese government perpetrates on a daily basis. Popovich completely ignored the mistreatment of gays, minorities, women, and Christians and Muslims that the autocratic, the communist Chinese government indulges every single day.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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