SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Gregg Popovich is the winningest coach in NBA regular-season history, getting his 1,336th victory when the San Antonio Spurs rallied to beat the Utah Jazz 104-102 on Friday night.
Popovich broke a tie with Don Nelson, the friend and mentor he served as an assistant under while with Golden State for two seasons beginning in 1992.
The milestone came in Popovich’s 2,030th game and 26th season with the Spurs, the only franchise he has served as head coach for.
Unsurprisingly, the evening was met with zero fanfare.
Praise or celebration of any achievement is brusquely deflected or simply ignored by Popovich. To hear Popovich explain it, he simply shows up to work and rolls the ball onto the court.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Popovich has won five NBA championships, 13 division titles and was recently named one of the 15 greatest coaches in league history. He has coached NBA 75th Anniversary Team members David Robinson and Tim Duncan, future Hall of Fame members Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker as well as journeymen who found careers in San Antonio such as Danny Green and current NBA coaches Steve Kerr, Monty Williams, Ime Udoka and Doc Rivers.
“Gregg Popovich’s success with the Spurs is unprecedented in our league so it’s only fitting that he now holds the record for most career wins," NBA Commissioner Adam Siler said in a statement.
"His leadership and unwavering commitment to the game are widely admired by generations of players and coaches alike. Congratulations to Coach Pop on this latest achievement in his legendary career.”
San Antonio won 50 games for a league record 18 straight seasons from 2000-2017 under Popovich.
The Spurs matched a league record with 22 straight playoff appearances but have missed two straight postseasons since their streak ended in 2017.