Heat Star Bam Adebayo Calls Spurs Coach ‘Hilarious Expletive’

Gregg Popovich, Bam Adebayo

Getty Head coach Gregg Popovich of the United States talks with Bam Adebayo #13 during an exhibition game against Nigeria at Michelob ULTRA Arena ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Miami Heat take on the San Antonio Spurs for their third preseason game on Friday night, which marks the first time gold medalist Bam Adebayo will face off against his Team USA coach Gregg Popovich as an opponent since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Adebayo, 24, was the starting center under Coach Popovich, and the two became close through their Olympic journey. Prior to tipoff, the Kentucky alum opened up about his true thoughts on the legendary coach.

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“The hilarious [expletive] is what I call him,” Adebayo said with a laugh, as reported by Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang. “He’s one of those people, he’ll make a joke in the moment. He’s one of the coaches that keeps it light every once in a while just to let us know to have fun, go out there and hoop.”

Popovich, Adebayo

GettyHead Coach Gregg Popovich high-fives Bam Adebayo #13 during the second half of their Preliminary Round Group, a game against Czech Republic on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on July 31, 2021.

While it’s not totally clear what explicit bleeped out word Adebayo said, the center was crystal clear on why he wanted a win on Friday night. “Bragging rights,” Adebayo said.

Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra Is Being Considered as Popovich’s Successor for Team USA

Erik Spoelstra

GettyHead coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat in action against the Atlanta Hawks during the fourth quarter of preseason action at FTX Arena on October 04, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

Miami Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra has the most absolute respect for Popovich, especially after being selected to coach the reserve team in Las Vegas, which played against Popovich’s Team USA in order to help prepare them for the Olympics.

Spoelstra said of Popovich, “his brilliance is being able to read people, read teams and read what’s needed at that moment.” But as for taking over as Team USA’s head coaching job in 2024, Spoelstra remains unsure.

“I have enough on my plate right now just trying to get this team [the Heat] up and running to think about that,” Spoelstra said. “That has taken up the majority of my time. I loved my experience with USA Basketball and would love to be a part of it moving forward.”

Adebayo, however, believes Spoelstra would be perfect for the job. The All-Star told the Miami Herald:

He lets the talent be talent. He doesn’t try to overcoach us I feel like you need that with the Olympic team because you got so many guys that come from teams where they’re the No. 1 option and you got like six or seven No. 1 options on the same team. It’s kind of hard to coach that. So the fact that I feel like Spo would let us figure it out and let talent be talent, I feel like it wouldn’t be a hard coaching job for him.

Spoelstra Loves Seeing the Chemistry Between Adebayo & Kyle Lowry

Spoelstra mentioned his focus was on his own roster, which makes sense considering the Heat have 10 new faces on the team this season. While everything can sound great on paper, the Heat most notably brought six-time All-Star Kyle Lowry into the fold, along with Markieff Morris, and P.J. Tucker, Spoelstra is thrilled to see natural chemistry building between new and old players.

Throughout the first two preseason games, Lowry has recorded 17 assists with five of them targeting Adebayo — two layup shots and three dunks.

“I think Kyle has really been intentional of trying to give Bam some easy looks and easy catches around the rim,” Spoelstra said. “It didn’t take Bam very long to figure it out in this training camp: If you run, you’ll get the ball and you’ll get easy opportunities. Bam has a great feel and understanding for the game, as well. So usually high IQ players will figure it out in a short period of time.”

Lowry said it wasn’t that hard to adjust to playing alongside the All-Star. “It’s really easy for me to just go out there, put the ball somewhere and he can go get it,” the veteran point guard said. “It’s not even about like forming a connection. It’s just understanding and respecting and knowing how good he really is. He makes himself look good and he makes me look really good.”

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