U.S. president Donald Trump singled out San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and Golden State Warriors bench boss Steve Kerr last week, claiming the pair are quick to speak "badly" about their nation but are afraid to say anything negative about the controversy surrounding the NBA and China.
Popovich responded to those remarks before Sunday's preseason affair against the Houston Rockets by contrasting Trump to NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
"All I did was make a comparison between Adam Silver's show of principle and courage in a tough situation, as opposed to how our president reacts in the company of authoritarian figures," Popovich said, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio-Express News. "Whether it's Saudi Arabia or North Korea or Russia or Turkey, or whatever it is, he comes off as pretty feckless, impotent, and cowardly by comparison.
Popovich has been vocal about social issues in the past and was quick to praise Silver's handling of the current situation. He once again reiterated his support for the commissioner.
"He stood by our nation and its principles," Popovich said. "That's pretty huge in these days. Sometimes it's kind of Orwellian. We're living in a place where, 'is this really happening?'
"But that comparison is pretty stark. When you put our president up against those leaders - when he's with them or talking to them and how he reacts - compared to the way Adam Silver reacted. I was proud of him. It was great."