Popovich Hosts Town Hall Meeting With Cornel West


000303-D-9880W-007 	San Antonio SpursÕ Head Coach Gregg Popovich (center) is joined by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen (seated left) and SpursÕ player David Robinson (seated right) as he talks with about 300 Junior ROTC cadets from local high schools at the Alamo Dome, in San Antonio, Texas, on March 3, 2000.  Popovich, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and Robinson, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, were able to provide many personal insights on how their experiences in the military had helped them develop the attitudes and personality traits that lead them to success in other aspects of their lives.  DoD photo by R. D. Ward.  (Released)

Following his recently condemnation of Donald Trump, Gregg Popovich appears to have surfaced as the NBA’s preeminent political voice. This past Sunday, the San Antonio Spurs’ coach appeared at the Carver Community Cultural Center to give a talk along with Dr. Cornel West and Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation.

Although the conversation touched on Trump’s victory, the whole event was actually planned months before the election results came in. Popovich described the meeting to the press, saying it was for “the kids”:

“In today’s environment, one can talk a good game about ‘We need this or we need that’. We need fewer disparaging remarks. We need more attention to healing the atmosphere for a lot of minority groups, whether it’s racial or things that have been said about women or handicapped people … any such talk is just talk. But, at some point there’s got to be follow-through where people are engaged. So, we were fortunate to have Cornel West actually come to San Antonio and be our, not just speaker, but our ‘player,’ so to speak…

The purpose of it was to show the kids that even though the environment is as it is – and we’ve heard some pretty rough talk through the election – that there are people, many people at all levels, who value them greatly. They don’t need to be as fearful or feel ‘less than’ because we know who they are. We depend on them for the future. I’m not that big on adults. For obvious reasons, the kids are where we’ve got to go, and they were fantastic.

They’ve (been) working for the last couple of weeks on questions, wondering about who Cornel West is, what he’s done, what he’s written, that sort of thing. We just had basically a little town hall for the kids. They asked all the questions… It wasn’t all just about race in America or anything like that. It was about sports, economics, police-community relations.”
Popovich has always been outspoken about social issues, and this is actually not his first meeting with Cornel West. Back in 2011, Dave Zirin remembers being at a promotional event with both men. Zirin pointed out the famed activist to Gregg and began describing who he was only to have Popovich interrupt him and say “I know who Cornel West is, I do have a life you know.”
The San Antonio Spurs are currently 11-3 under Popovich’s supervision and their next game is tomorrow, November 23 at 7PM, against the Charlotte Hornets.