New Video Imagines Fate of Spurs Franchise If Avery Johnson Hadn't Saved Gregg Popovich's Job 20 Years Ago

Facebook / NBA TV
What if Gregg Popovich hadn't brought Avery Johnson to the Spurs? What if Johnson – then the team's leader – hadn't gone to bat to help save Popovich's job?

NBA TV explored just that in a new video. Following a season unlike any other for the Spurs, the league's media network took a look at Coach Pop's long career. Since the 1996-1997 season, Popovich has led the team to 21 playoff appearances and five championships. He's brought on now-legends David Robinson and Tim Duncan as well as Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, the latter duo still killing it on the court today.

But before the Spurs dynasty became what it is today, the Spurs franchise almost made a coaching change that would have changed the course of San Antonio history.

During the 1998-1999 season, the same year the Spurs won its first championship, Popovich's coaching job was on the line. Johnson was point guard at the time, and was loyal to Popovich since he had brought him to San Antonio. In an attempt to save Popovich's career, Johnson called a team meeting that inspired the players and kept Popovich as head coach.

Though we all know how it turned out, NBA TV considered how different the Spurs franchise would be if Parker and Ginobili had never come to San Antonio, if Duncan would have left to the Orlando Magic in 2000, and whether we'd have as many championships as we do today.

Watch for yourself and be thankful that Johnson spoke up when he did.
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