Team USA coach's hilarious response to critics after Tokyo gold

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Gregg Popovich couldn't help but take a shot at Team USA's critics after winning basketball gold at the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
Gregg Popovich couldn't help but take a shot at Team USA's critics after winning basketball gold at the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Gregg Popovich has never been afraid to say what he thinks.

It's a trait he's used as much for comedic purposes as he has to put pesky questioners back in their place, and it was on full display after Team USA won gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

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Though Team USA has dominated basketball at the Olympics since the Dream Team in 1992, this year's team came under more scrutiny than ever before after questionable performances leading up to the Games.

Since Popovich took over the job, the team has been absent some of America's biggest names in basketball, such as LeBron James or Chris Paul.

The 2019 FIBA World Cup, in which the team failed to make the semi-finals for the first time, was seen as a wholly unsatisfactory result and led to questions being asked about Popovich's suitability for the job.

Fast forward to 2021, and while Kevin Durant has agreed to join the team, losses in practice to Australia and Argentina, plus a loss in their first pool game against France, and alarm bells were ringing back home.

But the team pulled together, coming back from a double-digit deficit against Australia in the semi-finals and winning their rematch against France for gold.

Afterwards, Popovich made a heartfelt speech to his players, saying winning gold was the best feeling of his basketball career and acknowledging the sacrifices made by the players and their families for them to be in Tokyo.

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“I just got to tell you I feel so fortunate having the opportunity to be with you guys and the staff,” he said.

"You guys went through all that stuff, and your families were sacrificing back there the same way," Popovich continued, starting to choke up. 

"That's why I'm so proud to be part of this. It's like the best feeling I've ever had in basketball."

What he said next though, had the room in stitches.

"I would just like to say to all of those people out there," Popovich continued. "How the 'f*** you like us now?"

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The moment was one of catharsis and well-earned celebration from a team that fought through adversity and challenging conditions like everyone else involved with the Tokyo Games. Team USA took its lumps — which were earned — and appropriately reveled when it finished on top.

And for Popovich, who rarely misses a chance to jab at media, the triumph was especially sweet.

Brooklyn Nets confirm NBA deal for Patty Mills

The Brooklyn Nets have confirmed they have signed Boomers captain Patty Mills.

While they did not disclose terms, Mills has reportedly inked a two year NBA deal worth $12 million.

Still buzzing from inspiring Australia's Tokyo Olympic bronze medal playoff win, Mills is now preparing to link with the Nets after spending the last 10 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs.

The 12-year NBA veteran averaged 10.8 points on 41.2 per cent shooting (37.5 per cent from three-point range) in 24.8 minutes per game over 68 games (one start) last season, hitting a career-high 161 three-pointers.

Overall Mills - who turns 33 on Wednesday - has appeared in 739 career NBA games, averaging 8.9 points, 1.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

The Australian guard was a second-round pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, where he spent two seasons before joining San Antonio.

Patty Mills has signed with the Brooklyn Nets for the 2021/22 NBA season, ending his career with the San Antonio Spurs. (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
Patty Mills has signed with the Brooklyn Nets for the 2021/22 NBA season, ending his career with the San Antonio Spurs. (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)

Mills ranks first in three-pointers made off the bench (1,095) and third in points scored off the bench (5,919) as well as minutes played off the bench (13,007).

His 1,095 three pointers off the bench are the fourth-most in NBA history, trailing only Kyle Korver (1,385), Jamal Crawford (1,259) and Lou Williams (1,198).

He has missed just 12 regular season games over the last six NBA campaigns, appearing in 80 or more games five times in his career.

A regular member of the Boomers since 2007, Mills is coming off an outstanding Tokyo Olympics where he averaged 23.3 points and 6.3 assists.

Saving his best until last, Mills dropped 42 points in Australia's 107-93 bronze medal playoff win over Slovenia as the Boomers secured their first ever men's Olympic basketball medal.

With AAP

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