Americans Are Hating on Gregg Popovich for his Criticism of Donald Trump

Gregg Popovich
Gregg Popovich at Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, February 24. Harry How/Getty

When Gregg Popovich speaks about President Donald Trump, people tend to listen—and, indeed, it seems many decide to respond, too.

Popovich, a 1970 graduate of the Air Force Academy who served five years, has been a frequent critic of the president since he took office in January, describing him as a "soulless coward" and calling "our country an embarrassment to the world." The San Antonio Spurs coach is not afraid of taking a pop.

He has made clear his belief that Trump is a liar and divisive. Many listeners and readers take the time to write to the 68-year-old, some messages of support and others of criticism. Popovich says he reads everything and tries to respond to them all.

"It takes time because there's a lot of letters," he said, as quoted by ESPN. "But the only ones I don't respond to are the ones that are so courageous in their negativity that there's no address, just comments. That's hard to respond to. But there are people who have responded and disagreed, and say, 'Why?' And it's erudite and intelligible. [And I'm like], 'Yeah, you've got a point.' Those people deserve to be written back. So, I try. I probably won't get them all, but I try."

Related: Warriors want Popovich for president, not Donald Trump

Asked whether he received a negative reaction from supporters on his political opinions, Popovich joked: "Oh, no, no, no. Every single person has agreed with everything I've said. I get flowers. I get trinkets and gifts." He added: "Just as you would expect: A little bit of both, right? A lot of both."

Popovich gave an insight into the kind of messages he had received by suggesting that many didn't have the kind of western beliefs typical of the United States. But Popovich also explained that he was left more with a feeling of hopefulness after reading the letters.

"Some responses make you wonder what country you live in, and other responses make you very hopeful," he said. "But there's a lot more hopeful than, 'My gosh, how did this person come up with this?' So overall, it renews my feeling that something can be done because there are enough people willing to listen and feel and compromise."

Popovich, according to some high-profile figures in the NBA, should be president instead of Trump. Last month, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said "he would make a great president." Steph Curry added: "He's great for the NBA and would be even better for the country, probably."

For now, Popovich's concern is the league. The Spurs are third in the Western Conference with a 9-5 record and on a two-game winning streak, and play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.