Gregg Popovich Defends 'Very Special' LeBron James, Rips Laura Ingraham

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2018

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich in the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Denver. The Nuggets won 117-109. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has never been afraid to speak his mind on social issues, and he is now supporting LeBron James' right to do the same.

On Sunday, Popovich defended James against comments from Fox News host Laura Ingraham and also discussed the positive example the superstar has made for young kids, via Bleacher Report's Greg Swartz:

Greg Swartz @CavsGregBR

Gregg Popovich's comments about LeBron James as a role model and voice in sports. https://t.co/BpPcLoIge0

Cleveland.com provided full video of the comments:

clevelanddotcom @clevelanddotcom

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called Laura Ingraham's "shut up and dribble" comments directed at LeBron "an unbelievable show of arrogance." He encouraged LeBron to continue to speak on issues and to continue to be a hero and a role model. #Cavs https://t.co/zNzvwXHgZa

The latest controversy started when James and Kevin Durant discussed social issues and U.S. President Donald Trump on The Undefeated, and Ingraham responded by telling them to "shut up and dribble," via Scott Gleeson of USA Today.

James didn't back down from his comments in his response to Ingraham.

"We will definitely not shut up and dribble. I will definitely not do that," the Cavaliers star said during the All-Star break, per Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News. "I mean too much to society. I mean too much to the youth. I mean too much to so many kids who feel like they don’t have a way out and need someone to help lead them out of the situation they’re in."

Popovich echoed this sentiment Sunday, comparing the four-time MVP to the Black Panther as a superhero for young kids to idolize. He noted we should be "very proud" to have someone like that in our society.

Like James, Popovich has not hidden from statements that have little on the surface to do with basketball. The coach recently referred to the United States as a "racist country" while noting the importance of Black History Month, per USA Today.

He also has spoken negatively about Trump on a variety of occasions.