Emotional Gregg Popovich Rips Critics in Epic Gold Medal Game Speech for Team USA

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Gregg Popovich’s speech to Team USA after their gold medal-winning performance against France at the Tokyo Olympics has finally seen the light of day, and it is epic. Popovich was emotional in the video captured by Team USA center JaVale McGee, as he addressed the team one last time after a draining and challenging campaign that ultimately ended in a sweet victory.

To no one’s surprise, Popovich made it a point to talk about Team USA’s critics, saying, “In the beginning, people were talking about ‘why is he on the team, you should have taken him? What happened to him, why is he there?” Popovich then gave a shoutout to the talking heads on TV, saying, “All the pundits – all these people who think they know something.”

Popovich blasts critics after the gold medal win

He might have been talking about Kendrick Perkins, a vocal critic of Team USA’s performances since their exhibition matches in Las Vegas. Perkins called Popovich arrogant after Team USA’s loss to Australia, their second consecutive defeat in the warm-up tournament before the Olympics.

Popovich continued his speech, adding, “Then we start out getting our ass kicked after a couple of practices. There it comes again.” Popovich became emotional when he talked about the sacrifices his team went through to reach this stage. “You guys went through all that stuff, and your families were sacrificing back there the same way.”

Popovich then started to choke up as he said, “That’s why I’m so proud to be part of this.” He then made a stunning statement, “It’s like the best feeling I’ve ever had in basketball.” Popovich has won five NBA championships with the San Antonio Spurs in his coaching career, but the one prize that has always eluded him was an Olympic gold medal.

Related Article: Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr Want Team USA Partnership for 2024 Paris Olympics 

Popovich’s long journey to Olympic glory

He almost made it as a player in the 1972 Olympics but was cut from the United States team that lost a controversial gold medal match against the Soviet Union. Popovich then served as an assistant coach to Larry Brown in the 2004 Olympics, but they only managed a bronze medal.

After a very long wait, Popovich finally got his shot to coach Team USA at the Olympics, but their campaign in Tokyo got off to a dreadful start as the Americans lost to France in their group opener.

However, they managed to turn things around, thanks in large part to the greatness of Kevin Durant, winning five straight games to reach the top of the podium and bring home the gold medal. Popovich let it all out at the end of his speech, telling those who doubted him and the rest of Team USA, “How the ‘f*** you like us now?” Well said, Pop!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPIhmqhkOM8

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