In a Wall Street Journal column February 11, my second favorite of that esteemed paper’s writers makes the case for a presidential run by Gregg Popovich. “Pop” is the least flamboyant and most successful active NBA coach, and as they say in sports, “arguably,” arguably the greatest pro basketball coach since Phil Jackson or even the mighty Reds, Holzman and Auerbach.
As mastermind of the San Antonio Spurs, 67-year old Popovich, the WSJ’s Jason Gay points out, has won five NBA titles with a system that, Gay implies, can be transferred to running the Republic’s affairs in the interests of… the Republic. He insists on a team game. He recruits whoever fits, including women (assistant coaches) and immigrants. True, the latter are a staple of the NBA, as they are of the NHL and MLB (many would be called guest workers rather than green card immigrants), but Popovich has been the best at this, teaching them his system and assimilating them into his team: this is what immigration, prior to the reforms of the 1960s, used to do.
Unlike the presidential aspirants, who are narcissistic megalomaniacs to a man and who all are insiders of the system (the Man from Queens, though not a professional pol, has been making deals with New York pols all his life), bear some responsibility for the real and perceived dysfunctions of the Union, “Pop” has the virtue, like great presidents of yore, of saying what he means with economy. Here is Gay describing him at one of those interviews we see on TV:
“Pop, your impression of the first quarter?”
“We’re behind and they’re ahead.”
And here is Gay on how a President Popovich news conference will sound:
“President Popovich, what are the goals for the economic talks with China?”
“We want to talk to China about the economy.”
[Another long stare]
The Draft-Webb movement that we propounded early on fizzled. Dr. Ben Carson, despite his dignity and virtue or perhaps because of them, has fallen behind in the race. Since that well-known metric, Voter Dissatisfaction, remains at an all-time high, and since the Major Parties remain clubs of catatonic flat-brains, Mr. Gay’s idea is fresh and invigorating. Observe that even if the foregoing were not so and the political field were as full of competent and competitive and creative leaders as — well, as the NBA — Gregg Popovich would be an immediate top-tier contender. Should Sen. Webb re-enter the race as an independent, we would then have a classic democratic competition.
Even this year, Mr. Gay points out, with an aging (but, as per Popovich’s system, rebuilding) team whose most famous and perhaps best-ever player, Tim Duncan, is 92, the Spurs can seriously entertain the notion of going into the playoffs with a fair shot to beat the nearly unbeaten (four losses so far) Golden State Warriors and moving on to the Finals and crushing whoever by ten thousand points.
And you will not hear the coach bragging about this. He doesn’t need to.
Observe, too, that as a man of Serbo-Croatian heritage, Popovich knows something rather more serious about the plusses and minuses of the much-maligned bipartisanship problem in our federal government than the hot-airs who bemoan it as an excuse for their own lack of leadership skills, their own selfishness, their own feckless, careless, disgraceful disregard for how fares the Union. It’s time, I agree with Jason Gay, for a true American leader.
As Jason Gay concludes, the hitch is that Gregg Popovich has better things to do. But he believes the coach understands the call of duty, and is amenable to persuasion. Only he’s shying away from asking, which shows admirable professional restraint, he’s a reporter, not a political consultant. So it’s up to you, American Spectator readers. Your turn to step up. The address is: Mr. Gregg Popovich, Head Coach, Spurs, San Antonio, Texas. Add USA if you are writing from overseas. And send a note to Mr. Gay, c/o Wall Street Journal, NYC, thanking him for his courageous initiative.
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