Ahead of his squad’s game at Utah, Popovich was asked about why it is important for the basketball league to promote Black History Month.
“I think it's pretty obvious,” he replied. “The league is made up of a lot of black guys. To honour [Black History Month] and understand it is pretty simplistic. How would you ignore that?
“But more importantly, we live in a racist country that hasn't figured it out yet. And it's always important to bring attention to it, even if it angers some people.
“The point is that you have to keep it in front of everybody's nose so that they understand it, that it still hasn't been taken care of, and we have a lot of work to do.”
Popovich, who has won five NBA titles with the Spurs and is well known for speaking his mind over a number of social issues in the United States, added that white privilege was part of the “national discourse” in the country.
“If you were born white, you automatically have a monstrous advantage educationally, economically, culturally in this society,” he said.
“And all the systemic roadblocks that exist, whether it’s in a judicial sense, a neighbourhood sense with laws, zoning, education – we have huge problems in that regard that are very complicated, but take leadership, time and real concern to try to solve.
“It’s a tough one because people don’t really want to face it. And it’s in our national discourse.”
This is not the first time Popovich has made the headlines for his political opinions, and in November the 69-year-old attracted worldwide attention when he castigated Donald Trump after the US president falsely claimed Barack Obama and other presidents didn’t contact the families of soldiers killed in action.
“This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others,” Popovich said.
“This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner– and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers – is as low as it gets.
“We have a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office, and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day.
“The people who work with this president should be ashamed, because they know better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it.”
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