• Gregg Popovich implements a special rule during team dinners
  • Former Spurs forward revealed how he learned wbout Popovich's rule
  • Popovich and Shaquille O'Neal had a memorable connection

A former San Antonio Spurs forward revealed what would make Gregg Popovich slap his players during team dinners.

In his Hall of Fame coaching career, Popovich has been known for having a peculiar way of coaching his players. Under his leadership, the Spurs have been described as the most progressive franchise in the league, winning the NBA championship 5 times: 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014.

Davis Bertans, a former Spurs forward who is now playing for the Washington Wizards, spent his first three years under Popovich’s wings. Now that he has parted ways with “Pop,” Bertans is one of the players who often say they would always go back because the franchise has an interesting style of management.

According to veteran NBA reporter and San Antonio Express-News’ Tom Osborn, Bertans remembered how Popovich was strict when it comes to his rule during special team dinners. As per Bertans, players are allowed to talk about anything in front of the table except anything related to basketball.

Unfortunately for Bertans, he started talking about basketball and learned about how Popovich implements the said rule in a hard way.

“We had dinner with a few players, and (Pop) has his rule that we don’t talk basketball. We talk about everything else. I think I mentioned basketball once, and he slapped me,” Bertans recalled.

Popovich has developed good relationship with an array of NBA superstars throughout his career. Some fans may not know but Popovich and Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal already had a memorable connection even before “Shaq” made it to the NBA.

Shortly after Popovich’s wife Erin passed away, O'Neal revealed a story about the one time he ever disrespected the legendary coach and what his stepfather quickly told him.

According to O’Neal, there was a time he and Poppvich had a little altercation, and his stepfather, who was a military man like Popovich, called him right away and said “don't you ever disrespect Pop again.” That was when O’Neal learned that Popovich once did him and his stepfather a favor he will never forget.

“He (my stepfather) told me a story, story goes like this: ‘I was in San Antonio in 1989, couldn't afford a pair of 18/19 shoes. My father drove over to the Spurs, him and Pop hit it off right away, Pop gave him a couple pairs of shoes.’ My father brought them back to the house. So Pop, I'm praying for you brother. I'm sorry you're going through this," O’Neal recalled.

Gregg Popovich
Gregg Popovich was ejected from the game after just 63 seconds. In this picture, Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs reacts against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, March 06, 2019. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images