For the first time since "Titanic" was in theaters, the Spurs are sunk.
San Antonio hit an iceberg before it took the court Thursday when the Grizzlies and Suns both won, ending its more-than-two-decade streak of making the NBA playoffs, which was an impressive feat in its own right. The Spurs entered the NBA bubble on the outside looking in, and they needed a lot to break right for them to make it into the 2020 playoffs. The magic ran out as Memphis and Phoenix closed out their games.
To that end, one must feel for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who became the NBA's winningest coach in 2019, for the way his season ended. But Popovich took it all in stride, and in typical Pop fashion, he spent some time messing with reporters before giving San Antonio fans some good news:
Gregg Popovich’s reaction to the Spurs playoff streak being snapped pic.twitter.com/H3sJ9pVgTV— ContentNBA (@ContentNBA) August 14, 2020
“Fake news,” he said.
— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) August 14, 2020
Gregg Popovich on the Spurs' playoff streak ending (1998-2020): "That’s fake news. That’s total fake news! Lots of guys have been telling me the streak hasn’t ended! I talk to people all the time. They call me. They tell me, ‘Pop, the streak didn’t end! It didn’t end!'"— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) August 14, 2020
“I don’t dwell on the past.”— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) August 14, 2020
Gregg Popovich on the Spurs 22-year playoff streak coming to an end. pic.twitter.com/Vf12dNK2tt
Popovich said he's returning to the Spurs' bench for the 2020-21 NBA season, which will be his 25th year coaching the team, and he has a reason for returning: He praised the players' effort inside the bubble, and he feels the future is bright in San Antonio.
Just for color, here's what the world looked like in 1997, the last time the Spurs weren't in the playoffs:
- A gallon of gas was $1.27.
- Hanson's "MMMBop" was a Billboard No. 1 song.
- "Titanic," "Men in Black," "Good Burger" and "The Fifth Element" all hit theaters.
- Tim Duncan was finishing his senior year at St. Dunstan's Episcopal High School.
In any case, with as weird a season as it was, expect the Spurs to be more competitive in a less-weird 2020-21 season — and if his exit interview with reporters is any indication, expect the 71-year-old Popovich to be as Pop as ever.