Despite concern from the NBA regarding coaches 65 and older entering the Orlando bubble due to an elevated risk in regards to COVID-19, Gregg Popovich says there's no safer place to be given all of the precautions put in place by the league. The San Antonio Spurs coach admitted that he did have second thoughts about Orlando, but ultimately he decided to put his faith in the NBA, and commissioner Adam Silver.
"Especially being 71 years old, I thought, 'Is this where I want to spend a lot of my time? Doing this? Under these circumstances?'" Popovich said during a video conference with reporters Saturday. "The last couple days, I thought I was going through my doolie [freshman] year at training camp at the [Air Force] academy.
"I talked to a lot of people, I talked to [commissioner] Adam [Silver], and you find out pretty quickly what he and his staff of many have gone through to put this thing together," Popovich added. "I honestly do believe -- and it's not just me being a loyal soldier to the NBA -- I've done my share of criticizing here and there when I thought it was necessary, but I don't know where else you would be as safe as we are right now. They can't spoil us here as much as they usually do, before COVID -- we're pretty spoiled, in all kinds of ways. So we're not as spoiled now, but it's good for all of us."
At the very least. Popovich thinks that he will be safer in Orlando than in Texas, where COVID-19 cases are spiking across the state.
"From an intellectual point of view and a medical point of view, I would have to say not probably, but I am safer here -- if this bubble works -- I'm safer here than I would be in Texas," Popovich said. "For sure. As you see what's going on there."
Popovich's stay in Orlando might not ultimately last too long. as the Spurs will enter the eight "seeding" games in the 12th spot in the ultra-competitive Western Conference -- four full games out of the eighth and final playoff spot. If the Spurs fail to qualify for a playoff berth while in Orlando, it will end their extremely impressive streak of 22 consecutive postseason appearances. The streak is tied for the longest in league history, and has spanned Popovich's entire tenure as head coach of the team.