The most compelling matchup of this year's NBA Finals beginning tonight isn't Kawhi Leonard trying to guard LeBron James or Tim Duncan matching up with Chris Bosh, or even to see who flops better between Manu Ginobili and Dwyane Wade... it's the most combative, entertaining, long-running battle in the Association.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich vs sideline reporters.
Pop's less-than-forthcoming interviews have evolved into one of the great struggles of sports television. It's become something of a sport for Popovich as he has battled with numerous sideline reporters over the years. They try to get information, quotes, or insights from the coach in league-mandated interviews between quarters and Pop does everything in his power NOT to give information, quotes, or insights. Here's one of my favorites with one of his most frequent foils, David Aldridge, from the beginning of this season:
ESPN's Marc Stein has a fantatsic column before Game 1 speaking to a number of sideline reporters from a few of the men and women who have interviewed Pop over the years. A brief selection:no comments