Gregg Popovich led the Spurs exercise on Wednesday. (Ben Margot / Associated Press)
The NBA world was astonished on Wednesday with news that Erin Popovich, the wife of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, had died after a long battle with alleged respiratory disease.
Erin Popovich, 67, was ill since the 1990s according to the San Antonio Express News, and therefore she was unable to attend many events with her husband. The Popoviches had been married for four decades and had two children and two grandchildren. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced and it is not known how the death of his wife will affect Popovich's availability. The Spurs will play in San Antonio in Thursday's Play 3 Golden State playoff series Thursday night and the team asked that the media "respect the privacy of the family during this difficult time". Ettore Messina, Popovich's top assistant, would probably train in his absence. 19659004] "We are mourning for Erin," Spurs general manager RC Buford said in a statement. "She was a strong, wonderful, kind, intelligent woman who gave us all love, support and humor."
Spurs guard Danny Green added that the players were "deeply saddened" and said, "This is the time we have for him to be there." Green told the Express News that there had been signs that Erin Popovich has become stronger lately. "This summer she could just travel, and I was so happy that he and she escaped."
Among those who were visibly touched by the news of Erin Popovich's death, LeBron James was the Cavs, who was told about Cleveland's Game 2 victory over Indiana's first round playoff series.
"I know, this is devastating news … holy s-," said James. "It's just a lot, the NBA family, we stick together, I know we face each other every night, but it happens, and it just puts everything in the right perspective … I know that man Never make a mistake on top, even though you sometimes have to ask why, but that's just terrible news, and I wish Pop and all of San Antonio and the entire Spurs family good luck. "
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, whose team trained in preparation for the game on Thursday, as the News arrived was reported to be " stunned " to give an immediate comment. Kerr and Popovich were close together back in the late 1990s when Kerr played for the Popovichs Spurs.
Striker Kevin Durant was struggling for words, while several other NBA players came to Twitter to express their shock and sadness. 19659013] "I want Pop to know that the whole NBA family supports him and that he has everything behind him," said Durant. "It's bigger than the game, it's bigger than winning and losing, it's about the brotherhood we've built with the NBA family, I feel so bad for Pop and his family, it's hard to hear."
Former President Bill Clinton tweeted his condolences . "Coach Popovich – I join the NBA family and countless fans across the country who think of you, Jill and Micky [their children] while mourning the loss of your Erin."
Mike Brown, a Warriors assistant who worked earlier Denn Popovich with the Spurs declined to comment, and Durant mentioned the friendships that grew out of the sport.
"Prayers go to his family," said Durant. "Man, this is tough, this game is a nice game that brings people together, you develop friendships by playing the game, you have so much support from so many people that you will never cross a path if there is no basketball . "
"Great wife and mother! She has long fought !! #RIP my friend !!" Alabama coach Avery Johnson said about Erin Popovich on Twitter . As with Kerr Johnson played and won with Gregg Popovich an NBA championship.
Popovich is known for his irascibility, which refutes his esteem. A number of media members, with whom 69-year-old Popovich had more than enough of intermittent exchanges, expressed their condolences. "For Coach Popovich, his closest family and his Spurs family, it's a heartbreaking feeling," said TNT reporter David Aldridge, one of the coach's frequent coaches, on Twitter . "Blessings for all about your loss."
In a radio interview in 2012, Popovich admitted he could be tricky with reporters, and he said his wife frequently asked him to. "It entertains everyone except my wife," he said. "When I come home and she says," God, why are you so mean? You are an idiot, people hate you. "I'm going," I'm sorry, honey, I have to do better next time.
Erin Popovich, who was from Colorado Springs, was the daughter of Jim Conboy. He was the athletic coach of the Air Force Academy for 43 years before his death in 1998. Gregg Popovich graduated from the academy and made his journey to the Spurs Supported by General Erin Popovich's friendship with the daughter of former Spurs chairman Robert McDermott, a former airborne general, she urged her father to hire Gregg Popovich as General Manager in 1994 after working for Golden State, a former assistant to San Antonio.
"Life is short, enjoy your loved ones and do not lose your time hating each other," said Nicolas Batum of the Hornets on Twitter . "Prayers and thoughts to Pop and his family . "
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