Gregg Popovich is the most accomplished head coach in the NBA. He is a two-time Coach of the Year and has coached the San Antonio Spurs to four championships during his time with the organization but there is one thing missing from his resume.
Now I don’t want to give the impression that this missing item is something major that will determine his legacy because it won’t or at least it shouldn’t. Winning four championships is an impressive feat made even more impressive by the fact that no other head coach in the league has more than one.
The most memorable coaches in history have made their mark by winning back-to-back championships though.
Chuck Daly only won two championships in his coaching career but they are more memorable because they were back-to-back. The same goes for Rudy Tomjanovich who won back-to-back titles as coach of the Houston Rockets.
Pat Riley won four championships in the 80’s as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and even led them to four straight Finals appearances from 1982-1985. What really cemented his legacy as a coaching great though was winning back-to-back championships in 1987 and 1988.
Phil Jackson will go down as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game because he won so many back-to-back championships during his time. Jackson actually went a step further and mastered the art of the three-peat which only two other coaches have achieved since the NBA came into being.
Popovich has truly been great as a coach but when people look back in history at his coaching career will his greatness truly be appreciated or will he be overshadowed by Jackson who has been dominant for the past two decades?
Since 1999 when the Spurs won their first championship, only three teams have advanced out of the West to play in the NBA Finals. The Lakers have been to the Finals seven times and the Spurs have gone four times.
The only other Western Conference team to go to play in the Finals since 1999 is the Dallas Mavericks and they have done it twice. Only one of those trips produced a title though.
If Popvich wins the championship this year it will be hard to argue against him as one of the greatest coaches ever to coach in the league. It’s still interesting though that he can be looked over in this regard after having won four championships already when most coaches have such a hard time winning just one.
That’s the world we live in though.
Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at RHall_TPFB@Yahoo.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.