Spurs' Gregg Popovich says LeBron James should keep speaking out

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has been in the NBA for a long time and even then he's still amazed at the kind of influence Cavaliers star LeBron James has on the world on and off the court. James is someone that has reached a platform where he can not only express his own thoughts, but represent people who sometimes feel forgotten.

James has never been afraid to express his opinion. He once called President Donald Trump a "bum" on Twitter, and recently told Fox News pundit, Laura Ingraham, that he will not "shut up and dribble" after she criticized his comments on Trump on TV. Popovich is happy to see James speak his mind and compares him to a superhero. Via ESPN:

"There really is a First Amendment and you can have opinions -- as a coach, as a plumber, as an astrophysicist and a lowly reporter. They can have whatever opinions they want, and that's what's amazing about this when you look at this guy, how many millions of dollars, tens of millions of dollars he's given, tens of millions of kids that are inspired by him. It's kind of like the 'Black Panther' movie.

"How cool is that for kids to see that, to have that superhero? Well, LeBron's been that for a long time. For somebody to be totally numb to that and attack him in such a childish way really speaks more volumes about that individual than it does LeBron. He's very, very special. We should all be very proud that we have someone like that who's willing to speak about a variety of topics and you listen to them all."

Popovich himself is someone that's never been afraid to speak his mind. He's also taken shots at Trump in the past, calling him a "soulless coward," and is the type of person that sees life as being about more than just basketball. 

Popovich also has an incredible respect for James. He mentioned how, early in his career, he got caught just watching Michael Jordan and the Bulls play once. He didn't want to do that again against a player of James' caliber.

"It's good to be here to be able to watch LeBron," Popovich said. "I just have to make sure that I don't just stare at him all night like I did when I first came in the league and played the [Chicago] Bulls. I'd just watch Michael [Jordan] the whole time and Larry Brown would elbow me like, 'You going to do something?' I said, 'Coach, I've got to watch. I've got to see this guy.' You get like that with LeBron, too, because he does so many things. And I hope he keeps speaking. I'm sure he will."  

James and Popovich are two of the most interesting people in the NBA so it's cool to see the kind of respect they have for one another. Not just as players but as people. 

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