Erin Popovich, the long-time wife of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, died Wednesday after a long illness.
As a result, Popovich will not coach in Game 3 of the San Antonio Spurs’ playoff series with the Golden State Warriors Thursday, ESPN reported. Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina will reportedly man the sidelines in his absence. The couple had been married for forty years and had two children, and two grandchildren.
Players on both teams reacted to the news with great sadness.
“Very sad day,” Spurs guard Tony Parker said at the team’s practice Thursday morning. “Very emotional. It’s going to be very hard to play basketball today, but we have to do it…She was a great lady, always considered her a mom. Everybody knows that because I arrived at 19. It’s very, very emotional. … She was very caring, showed a lot of love. She was unbelievable.”
Manu Ginobli also weighed in.
“You don’t know how to handle it. It just happens. We’re all devastated. We’re hurting. We all know the type of guy Pop is. Not many people know the type of gal that Erin was. It’s painful.”
Warriors star Stephen Curry posted a heartfelt message to Twitter Wednesday night in support of Popovich.
“I can’t imagine what Coach Popovich is going through, but I am lifting up prayers you and your family,” Curry said.