It was a mundane game by any measure in February 2015, but by coming back to defeat the Indiana Pacers 95-93, the San Antonio Spurs helped Gregg Popovich win his 1,000th career game as an NBA head coach.
In a career marked by incredible success, Popovich is already considered one of best coaches the league has ever seen. Not only has he continued to win year in and year out, but he’s done it with a single NBA franchise. This is an extremely rare feat. As a matter of fact, so is winning a thousand games. And by doing so, Popovich joined an exclusive list of winningest NBA coaches. Needless to say, two years later, the winning hasn’t stopped.
Pop has continued his successful ways beyond the retirement of Tim Duncan. And he ranks among the nine winningest coaches in NBA history. Let’s look at the other eight on the list.
9. Rick Adelman
Rick Adelman spent 23 seasons as a head coach in the NBA. During that span, he roamed the sidelines for the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, and Minnesota Timberwolves. Adelman may not have won an NBA Championship, but from 1989–92, he did lead Portland to two Western Conference titles in three seasons.
8. Larry Brown
Larry Brown is one of the most respected basketball coaches of all time. In his time as an NBA head coach from 1977 until 2011, Brown recorded a regular–season winning percentage of .548, won NBA Coach of the Year (2000–01) with the Philadelphia 76ers, and led the Detroit Pistons to an NBA championship during the 2003–04 season.
7. Gregg Popovich
In his 21 seasons as the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich has become one of the most accomplished coaches in NBA history. He has won the NBA Coach of the Year award three times, has a regular–season winning percentage of .694, and has led the Spurs to five NBA championships. He is also the only active coach with over one thousand NBA victories on his already exceptional resume. Popovich is among, if not the biggest, reason why the Spurs have been so successful.
6. Phil Jackson
Phil Jackson is arguably the greatest coach of all time. Although he is only sixth on the list of winningest NBA coaches, his other accolades are off the charts. Jackson had a .704 regular-season winning percentage, was the 1995-96 Coach of the Year, and won 13 conference championships and 11 NBA titles. Too bad he hasn’t had the same sort of success as an executive.