Gregg Popovich: Overseas players become super heroes for their national teams

2019-09-06T12:10:38+00:00 2019-09-07T18:09:00+00:00.

Aris Barkas

06/Sep/19 12:10

As the USA is preparing for the game against Greece and Giannis Antetokounmpo, coach Pop presented his view on international NBA superstars and their national teams

By Aris Barkas/

SHENZEN – Gregg Popovich decided to rest his team after traveling to Shenzen and called off the practice. It’s the natural thing to do because his players will have to stop a superhero.

After a question about the upcoming matchup with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Popovich who talked after the game against Japan was much broader and gave a really interesting answer.

“I think that our opinion has been all along that all these players from overseas that play in the NBA are obviously good players or they wouldn’t be there and Giannis is pretty special as far as good players are concerned“, stated coach Pop before proceeding to what he thinks those players mean to their national teams: “But when they play for their countries, we like to say that they become superheroes. They get together and, through their relationships and their views about their game, they just form a team that – they fall in love with each other, they enjoy playing with each other. And that goes across the board for everybody that’s in the tournament, and you can see that. A lot of them have grown up together, and a lot of them have spent a lot of time playing together, and you can see that, and it shows. But as far as preparing, each team is obviously very different. In the NBA, you pretty much know every night the O’s and X’s of what people are going to run and that sort of thing. But here, every team has a different take on the way they want to play, so it’s actually enjoyable and challenging at the same time because each team is a different war, a different artwork to be figured out. It makes it very interesting”.

Giannis’ teammate in Milwaukee, Chris Middleton echoed the notion that it’s not only about the Greek Freak

According to Middleton, Greece is not only Giannis and his team should be ready for that: “He is the MVP, but at the same time, they do have other great players on that team. They have a couple of bigs, a couple of shooters, so it’s not just all about Giannis. He’s a smart player. He knows how to use his teammates, so you can’t just focus all on him”.