The New Orleans Pelicans defeated the San Antonio Spurs 113-103 in a play-in tournament game that lacked any significant on-court drama. But while the game wasn’t dramatic, it was historic. It could have been the final game in the storied coaching career of Antonio coach, Gregg Popovich.

The loss ended San Antonio’s season. When Popovich was asked about his future following the game, he declined to answer.

Despite Popovich feeling the question is inappropriate, fans were left wondering. The 2021-22 campaign was Popovich’s 26th manning the Spurs bench. Given that, and that Popovich is 73, many NBA fans on Twitter were questioning if Wednesday’s game might have marked the end of an era.

If this was it for Popovich, he’s retiring with a resume that few can (or will ever be able to) rival.

This season, Popovich won his 1,336th career game. That passed his former mentor, Don Nelson, for the most in NBA history. He finished the season with a career record of 1,344-701. Popovich is also a three-time coach of the year, in his full seasons coaching San Antonio, the Spurs completely missed the postseason only once — though they were eliminated in the play-in tournament in each of the last two seasons.

Popovich’s San Antonio teams also reached the NBA Finals six times, winning five of them. Only Phil Jackson (11) and Red Auerbach (9) have more championships, though Pat Riley and John Kundla both have five championships, as well.

So, if Wednesday was the end of Popovich’s career, it was not only the end of an era, but the end of a tremendous era.

[Mike Finger]

About Michael Dixon

Michael has a background in sports writing both online (Bleacher Report, Sportsnaut, Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks) and in print (Sedona Red Rock News, Brentwood Press). Sports have been a lifeline passion for Michael and he continues to enjoy writing and talking about them.