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Spurs' Gregg Popovich: I 'Felt More Pressure' at Tokyo Olympics Than Any NBA Finals

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 4, 2022

Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

When it comes to coaching in the NBA Finals or an Olympic Games, Gregg Popovich says there's no question: an Olympics packs far more pressure. 

"I was more anxious and felt more pressure in that environment than I ever did in any Finals experience. ... It's your country that is watching, stakes are huge and you feel that responsibility," Popovich told reporters Thursday.

Popovich coached the United States men's basketball team from 2016 to 2021, culminating in a gold medal at the 2021 Summer Olympics.

The future Hall of Famer's tenure leading Team USA was far from smooth sailing. The U.S. finished a ghastly seventh in the 2019 World Cup, the worst-ever finish in international play, and lost their first game in Olympic play since 2004 in their Tokyo opener.

While Popovich was able to right the ship and bring home the fourth straight gold medal for the United States, he was quick to indicate he'd be one-and-done as an Olympics coach.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr was officially named as Popovich's successor in December. 

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