But maybe there's an ugly underbelly to it.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, notorious for his caustic exchanges with reports, dropped another whopper on us Tuesday night after San Antonio's brutal loss to the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. A reporter asked Pop how he planned to prepare his team for Thursday night's decisive Game 7, and the question's phrasing left the door open for a facetious response, an opportunity Pop just couldn't pass up. Check it out:
Reporter: How do you get your guys into Game 7?
Popovich: I get them on the bus and it arrives at the ramp over here. We get off the bus, we go on the court, and we play. That’s how we get ready.
OK, that's fine. Popovich was being a jerk again -- what can anyone do?
But here's the rub: Pop made a series of very questionable coaching decisions toward the end of Game 6, decisions that very well may have cost his team the NBA title.
Most notably, Popovich benched Tim Duncan at some crucial junctures of the fourth quarter. Duncan wasn't on the floor when the Heat's Ray Allen drained a three-pointer with roughly five seconds left in regulation to draw Miami even and send the game to overtime. No, Duncan wouldn't have been covering Allen, but Allen's shot was precipitated by a Chris Bosh offensive rebound, which Bosh snagged pretty easily without Duncan's presence in the paint.
As well, Popovich played Manu Ginobili for 35 minutes despite the veteran's recent and pronounced struggles. Ginobili had eight turnovers and the Spurs were outscored by 21 points while he was on the floor, according to Kurt Hellin of ProBasketballTalk.
And yet, Popovich barely faced a tough question from reporters after the game, because most of the reporters are scared of him or know better than to bother.
The one reporter who did work up the nerve to ask Popovich a tough question, a foreign reporter, was dismissed in a predictably rude and surprisingly jingoistic manner:
So, how is this good for the NBA or its fans in any way? Popovich ends up looking like a jerk, important questions don't get asked or answered, and reporters get bullied. I guess there's really nothing the league can do, since it can't force someone to play nice with the media.
Popovich turns his nose up at the media and gets away with it because he's been hugely successful during his 17-year run with the Spurs; as Hellin notes, he's probably the best coach in the NBA. But he may have cost himself a fifth title on Tuesday night -- and I don't think anyone's going to feel badly about it, no matter how many funny YouTube clips he provides us.