SAN ANTONIO — Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was talking to reporters about the Silver and Black's preseason finale Friday night at the AT&T Center when he suddenly changed gears and lit into President Trump.
Popovich has been an outspoken critic of Trump and his administration for the better part of three years. He didn't mention Trump by name Friday night, but it was obvious who he was talking about.
Popovich took only three questions – and gave brief replies – about basketball before he suddenly changed the subject.
He paused and spoke haltingly as he continued.
"But, overall, the most . . . the thing that's most noticeable really isn't basketball," Popovich said. "The absolute ineptness and lack of understanding of country, or out of any notion of conducting oneself for the good of that country. The events that have happened the last (week). We could go on and on.
"Everybody knows what I'm talking about. It's disgusting. It's transparent. It's ridiculous and it's sort of boring in a way because we've seen it all before. But the people who are really angry are the people who don't speak out. When they knew it during the primary, they really know it now.
"And we've got a few people that are figuring it out," the head coach continued, "but still too many are more concerned about themselves than how embarrassed our country is when all these shenanigans go on."
Popovich closed by paying tribute to Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who died Thursday morning.
"Even more than that, on a level of governing you'd like to see, when you lose people like Elijah Cummings, that hurts a lot. It hurts our country because he cares about the country.
"Nothing he does was for himself," Popovich said, continuing on the subject of Cummings. "Nothing he did was for politics. Nothing he did was for money. It was for our country and other people. Wouldn't it be great to have that again, especially from the top. It's really disgusting."
Trump recently called out Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and, to a lesser degree, Popovich, when the president was asked about the NBA's problems with China.
Trump sparked the dust-up when he said Kerr and Popovich were "pandering" to China amid a controversy that began when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey sent out a pro-Hong Kong tweet.
Popovich responded to Trump's remarks for the first time before the Spurs' preseason game against the New Orleans Pelicans last Sunday.