GREGG POPOVICH, the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, is known for his reticent ways with sideline reporters. His one-word answers and his "can we get through this please because I have a game to coach" attitude have become almost legendary.
But that changed yesterday. Between the third and fourth quarters of the Spurs-Mavericks playoff game, Popovich was interviewed by Craig Sager's son, Craig Sager Jr. The younger Sager, who is a sports reporter in Atlanta, was subbing for his dad, who revealed on Friday that he has leukemia and will be undergoing treatment.
Popovich greeted Sager with a soft pat on the back and asked him, "Hey, Mr. Sager, how are you doing?" The cordial greeting must have sent chills up and down every sideline reporter still awaiting such a salutation.