Coach Pop Will Sit Out Tonight

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers

The Spurs have announced that Coach Gregg Popovich will not be on the bench tonight for game three of the Western Conference playoffs, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Spurs Assistant Ettore Messina will be calling the plays, while Pop deals with the death of his wife Erin.

From Bill Clinton to LeBron James, the world in and out of the NBA is in shock and mourning today after the sudden death of Erin Popovich, wife of Spurs Coach Greg Popovich for forty years, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

James nearly broke down in tears when he was asked about it on TNT following last night’s Cavaliers playoff game.

“I am a huge Pop fan, I love Pop,” James said.  “This is such a tragedy, and my best wishes go out to Pop and his family.”

The Spurs did not release the cause of Erin’s death, but ESPN and a Colorado Springs newspaper reported she had been suffering from a chronic respiratory ailment for the past two decades, and the condition had increasingly forced her to miss Spurs games and Spurs events.

Greg Popovich and Erin Conboy met at the U.S. Air Force Academy, when Popovich was on the Falcons basketball team.  Erin’s dad, Jim Conboy, was the USAF Academy athletic trainer. The couple was married for forty years, and had to children and two grandchildren.

“We’re the NBA family, I know we compete every night,” James said. “When something like this happens it put everything in perspective.  I send my prayers and my well wishes up to the heavens above.  I know the Man above never makes a mistake, but sometimes you just have to ask why.”

Former President Clinton joined hundreds of people who love and respect Pop in tweeting his sympathies.

“Coach Popovich, I join the NBA family and countless fans across the country who are thinking of you, Jill, and Micky as you mourn the loss of your Erin.”

“We mourn the loss of Erin,” said Spurs General Manager RC Buford. “She was a strong, wonderful, kind, intelligent woman who provided love, support and humor to all of us.”

The Spurs did not say whether Pop will coach the Spurs in tonight’s Game Three of the first round of the playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at the AT&T Center.

Photo: Getty Images

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