Beloved San Antonio Spurs coach and outspoken progressive Gregg Popovich donned a Beto O’Rourke hat at practice on Friday, and the next day confirmed his support for the Democratic congressman who hopes to oust incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas.
— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) November 2, 2018
“Just go vote for Beto,” Popovich said on Saturday, as reported by Project Spurs’s Paul Garcia. “He’s a special guy. Especially in the times we’re in now, and you get so tired of all the lies and divisiveness and fear-mongering and race-baiting. It just diminishes all of us. It makes us feel strange. And when I think of Beto, or I listen to what he says, I feel like what I thought America was supposed to be. He’s classy. He’s thoughtful. He’s intelligent. He’s civil.”
Popovich went on to praise O’Rourke for visiting every county in Texas. (As one Richard Linklater-directed political ad snarkily pointed out, “Ted’s been to every county… in Iowa.”)
“He’s been everywhere, because he cares about all the people, and he doesn’t deal with PACs and corporations and all that kind of thing. He just does the work,” Popovich said, noting that O’Rourke has not taken any PAC money for his campaign.
“We’re all looking for leaders,” he continued, “Leaders are courageous. Leaders conduct themselves based on their standards, their principles. They have courage of their convictions. They don’t genuflect. They don’t kiss up for their own personal gain. He’s out for the people. He wants everything to be fair. He wants justice. He wants our democratic institutions to be respected so that we’re proud of being Americans.”
He also took a swipe at Cruz’s campaign tactics of division, calling them “very scary.” “That’s about self. That’s not about the rest of us. Beto is the exact opposite of that. That’s why I think he’s great,” he said.
This is far from Pop’s first foray in to politics. He has been vocally anti-Trump, calling him a “soulless coward” and a “pathological liar… unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office.”
The Texas senate race is one of the most hotly-contested midterm elections, and Texans are clearly motivated to turn out at the polls. By the end of early voting Friday, voter turnout had already surpassed that of the 2014 midterms in the state’s 30 largest counties.