I envision Gregg Popovich waking up from a quick sleep in a hotel room in Toronto. His San Antonio Spurs struggled, but managed to defeat the Detroit Pistons 100-89 the night before. After the win, the Spurs hopped on a flight destined for Ontario and game five of their nine game “Rodeo Road Trip.” His team is 43-8.
It is 18 degrees outside his window this Wednesday morning. Half morning sun, half clouds of gloom. Maybe he snuggles up in his blankets after taking in the wintry Canadian air that seeped through his hotel window. Yes, coach Pop can snuggle too. I envision him wiping the morning crust from his eyes while searching for the remote. I see Pop swing his legs over to the side of the bed. Another day, another hotel. Deep breath followed by a deeper yawn. Sitting up now holding the narrow black device, how do you work this damn thing, he wonders before his forefinger hesitantly presses the arrow pointing forward, presumably for changing channels. He looks up. It works.
Tonight, his team will play the Toronto Raptors. But he can’t think about that right now. Right now, he just wants some familiar background noise while he prepares the shower. He finds SportsCenter. Hardly an avid viewer, Pop is about to press down on the arrow to flick up, but pauses instead. The lead is on Carmelo Anthony. He is surrounded by microphones, recorders, beat writers, bloggers and cameramen. Today, the rumor is he is heading to L.A. for Andrew Bynum. Yesterday it was N.Y. for Wilson Chandler and a draft pick. The potential lineup of Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol is damning. Especially for those, like Pop, who reside in the Western Conference. That’s a fantasy lineup right there. The NBA already has a fantasy lineup in Miami. Can’t happen again, right? But coach Pop wont bat an eye. He’ll sniffle, look out the window one more time and walk towards the bathroom to start his shower and begin his day, his grind for win number 44. A small grin reflects off the bathroom mirror.
This is the definition of flying under the radar.