As many expected, Gregg Popovich will not coach the San Antonio Spurs tonight for Game 3 of their first round series against the Golden State Warriors. Popovich’s wife, Erin Popovich, passed away on Wednesday, April 19 after battling with a long-standing illness. According to Fox Sports’ Cayleigh Griffin, Ettore Messina will fill in as head coach tonight for the Spurs. The Spurs announced the passing in a statement released on Wednesday.
“We mourn the loss of Erin,” Spurs GM R.C. Buford told ESPN in a statement. “She was a strong, wonderful, kind, intelligent woman who provided love, support and humor to all of us.”
Many NBA players offered their support for the Popovich family, including Kevin Durant and LeBron James, whose reaction was captured during media interviews.
“I just want Pop to know that the whole NBA family is supporting him and got his back through it all,” Durant told ESPN. “It’s bigger than the game. It’s bigger than winning and losing. It’s about the brotherhood we built as NBA players and everybody in the NBA family. I feel so bad for Pop and his family. That’s just tough to hear about.”
Messina has been on the Spurs coaching staff since 2014, and is being considered for the Hornets head coaching vacancy.
“The Charlotte Hornets have received permission to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for head coach opening, league sources tell ESPN. GM Mitch Kupchak and Messina worked together with Lakers, when Messina was part of Mike Brown’s coaching staff,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted.
Source: Heavy Sports