Doc Rivers talked about how much he admires Gregg Popovich ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers' first round series against the San Antonio Spurs.
"I think every coach in the league wants to be like Pop," Rivers said. "Players want to be like Mike. We want to be like Pop."
Rivers nearly replaced Popovich as head coach of the Spurs in 1999. The Spurs had started the lockout-shortened season slowly and there was pressure to fire Popovich and hire Rivers, who was a member of their broadcast team.
Said Avery Johnson: "There was a lot of noise about Pop being potentially replaced by Doc."
The Spurs turned around their season and eventually won the Finals.
"The only talk I had back then was I made sure I wasn't a part of all that bulls---," Rivers told ESPN.com on Saturday. "I don't think it was as close as people thought it was. Maybe it was. I've read that it was. I tried to stay out of it."