Coach Pop on pounding the rock
The pounding the rock mantra has been around San Antonio Spurs culture for several years now and gained some national pub along the way. The folks at Pounding the Rock even named their blog after the famous Jacob Riis quote.
It’s one of those unique things about this franchise that makes supporting the Spurs fun. It makes them a thinking fan’s basketball team in a way.
“When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”
I mentioned this in my pregame notes for a late season game against the Kings, but J.R. Wilco of Pounding the Rock asked Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich during a pregame press conference about the origins of the stonecutter quote and why he brought it to the team. The response that Coach Pop gave was one of the more honest and genuine sound bytes you’ll hear in professional sports these days. It sure reminded me why I’m lucky to be one of the guys covering this team on a daily basis.
I planned on waiting until JRW’s story was posted on PtR to link to it, but I’ve yet to see it there. So here’s Pop’s quote in full:
“That was a long time ago. Well, I guess I never really… well let me just say it was a long time ago. It was back in the 90s and I was reading something about immigration in New York way back when, that kind of thing, and he was a reformer. He fought for better housing and better conditions, working conditions, that type of thing, for immigrants of all countries.
“He was relentless at it and that quote that we use is obviously his quote, and I thought it embodied anyone’s effort in any endeavor, really. It doesn’t have to be basketball. It can be a musical instrument or it can be learning mathematics or going to law school or figuring out how to turn the water off in your house because you’re an idiot. If you can’t figure that out you just keep looking, keep trying, keep going.
“The way he said it was very eloquent, and I thought that it fit. You get tired of all that other junk. ‘Winners never do this’ or ‘Losers always quit.’ ‘There’s no I in team’ — all the typical, trite silly crap you see in locker rooms at all levels. It’s always turned me off, so I thought that this was maybe a little bit more, I don’t know, intelligent. A different way to get to the guys and make them think about it.
“They’ve had that in their brains for a long time. They’re probably totally tired of it, but it’s worked well for us… They’ve been brainwashed pretty good by now… I’m leaving right after Ghadafi. They’re going to get rid of me… I’ve been here too long.”