Team USA men’s basketball coach Gregg Popovich got into a testy exchange with a reporter after the U.S. lost to Australia in a tune-up game before the Tokyo Olympics.
The U.S. lost its second straight game in these tune-up exhibitions. On Saturday, it was to Nigeria and on Monday, it was to the Boomers. Popovich appeared to be upset with some of the questioning from a reporter about the team’s performance, suggesting the team should be dominating its opponents.
While it wasn’t clear what was said during the back and forth, Popovich made clear he was upset.
“Are you gonna let me finish my statement or not? So you’ll be quiet now while I talk. And then I’ll listen to you,” Popovich said.
“When you make statements about in the past, just blowing out these other teams … No. 1 you give no respect to the other teams. I talked to you last time about the same thing. We’ve had very close games against four or five countries in all these tournaments. So, the good teams do not get blown out. There are certain games it might happen in one of the tournaments, world championships and Olympics when somebody gets blown out but in general, nobody is blowing anybody out for the good teams. So, when you make a statement like that it’s like you assume that’s what’s going on and that’s incorrect.”
The U.S. lost to Nigeria, 90-87, on Saturday night. The team lost to Australia, 91-83. Popovich is 9-5 since being handed the keys to the Lamborghini that is the U.S. team.
He was the coach of the FIBA team that finished in seventh place in the 2019 World Cup. The U.S. lost to France in the first round of the quarterfinals and then to Serbia in the consolation tournament. Australia, who lost an exhibition game 102-86 in the lead up to the World Cup, finished in fourth.
The U.S. still has Australia, Argentina and Spain on its warm-up schedule.
The team starts Olympic group play against France on July 25. The team will also play Iran and Czech Republic.