San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich levied another jab at President Trump on Sunday when comparing the leadership abilities of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and how the controversy with China was handled.
Popovich, a staunch Trump critic who has only offered praise of Silver for how he has handled the China controversy, made his latest remarks before a preseason game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
“[Silver] stood by our nation and its principles. That's pretty huge in these days,” Popovich said, according to ESPN. “Sometimes, it's kind of Orwellian. You think we're living in a place where, 'Is this really happening?' But that comparison was pretty stark when you put our president up against those leaders when he's with them or talking to him and how he reacts compared to the way Adam Silver reacted. I was proud of him. It was great.”
Popovich’s latest remarks came in response to Trump’s criticism of him and Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr for their statements on the issue. Trump said Kerr was “shaking” when talking about China’s crackdown on the NBA and the Houston Rockets after general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protesters.
Trump then added: “I watched Popovich, sort of the same thing, but he didn’t look quite as scared, actually. But they talk badly about the United States -- but when (they) talk about China, they don’t want to say anything bad.”
According to ESPN, Popovich first attempted to swat away questions about Trump but eventually made his remarks.
“All I did was make a comparison between Adam Silver's show of principle and courage in a tough situation, as opposed to how our president reacts when in the company of authoritarian figures, whether it's Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Russia or Turkey, whatever it is,” he said. “It comes off as really feckless, impotent, cowardly by comparison.”
Silver last week said he regretted the outcome of Morey’s tweet but had no plans to punish anyone who expressed their opinions on geopolitical issues or societal issues in the U.S.