(Gregg Popovich, pictured here most certainly not about to drop an f-bomb.)
By Jared Jones
I may not know much about professional shooty-baskethoops, but I do know that every time I see San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on my television, my butthole puckers up as if I was just handed a life sentence at federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison. Perhaps to compensate for the fact that his star player, Tim Duncan, looks like a Care Bear in perpetual need of a wambulance, Popovich only strikes one emotion into the souls of his viewing audience: Fear. With his dead-eyed, thousand yard stare and just-below-the-surface frigidity, Gregg Popovich looks like what would happen if Ed Gein and that dude from Tango & Cash (No, not that dude. That dude) had a bastard offspring and raised it in captivity for years with a steady diet of blood sandwiches and And 1 mixtapes.
The more I think about it, NBA coaches and serial killers have a lot in common; they’re both cerebral, crafty, and obsessive to a degree, yet simultaneously prone to bouts of maniacal rage and unjustified cruelty towards figures of authority. I dare you to look at Jeff Van Gundy and tell me with full confidence that he *hasn’t* burned down a house with the family still inside at the minimum. But guys like Popovich and Van Gundy aren’t the only coaches that elicit comparisons to serial killers. Just look at this year’s remaining playoff coaches…
Scott Brooks — Oklahoma City Thunder
It’s more than devilish good looks and a calm, charming demeanor that makes Scott Brooks a dead ringer for infamous serial killer/necrophile Ted Bundy. In just four full seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder (formerly the Seattle Supersonics), Brooks has already ascended to the third most winningest coach in Sonics/Thunder history, leading his team to the playoffs in all four seasons, the Western Conference finals twice, and the NBA Finals in 2012. Similarly, in just four years as a serial killer, Ted Bundy claimed 35 victims by his own admission, making him the second most prolific serial killer in American History.
One has a 2009-10 Coach of the Year award resting on his mantlepiece, the other has been the subject of at least three made-for-TV movies and a feature length flick in 2002. Seems pretty even to me.
Frank Vogel — Indiana Pacers
Quiet and unassuming, Frank Vogel has been quietly and unassumingly leading the Indiana Pacers rise from mediocrity since signing on as head coach in July of 2011. Aside from being named the Eastern Conference head coach for this year’s All Star Game, Vogel finished the 2014 regular season with a .683 winning percentage and 56 wins, the highest in his Pacers tenure. In fact, Vogel’s never so much as slipped up during his time as the Pacer’s coach; his team has finished 1st two years running and never worse than 2nd in their division.
One serial killer who rarely slipped up was Andrei Chikatilo, a.k.a the Rostov Ripper a.k.a the Butcher of Rostov. For over a decade, this Russian-born, cannibalistic sexual deviant claimed the lives of over 50 women and children, leaving virtually no evidence behind and police so clueless that they arrested over a dozen men for the crimes he had committed. Although Chikatilo was eventually arrested during a massive undercover operation in 1990, it still took police a fortnight to coerce a confession out of him. Chikatilo was executed in 1994, having never led the Novocherkassk City Penitentiary basketball team to a single victory. What a shame.
Erik Spoelstra — Miami Heat
The first ever Asian-American head coach of an NBA team, a 2013 All Star coach, and winner of back-to-back NBA championships, Eric Spoelstra has broken a lot of ground at just 43 years of age (and just 6 years as a head coach). It only seems fitting that he should be held in the same light as Luis Garavito, the most notorious serial killer/rapist of all time.
What’s that? You don’t know who Luis Garavito is? Read a Wikipedia page, dummy! Gawd!
Known as “The Beast” in his native Columbia, Garavito confessed to the murders of 147 young boys over the course of 5 years when he was captured in 1999, although only 138 of the murders have been confirmed (*whew*). While most of Garavito’s victims were peasant and street children between the ages of 8 and 16, it is damn near impossible to deny Garavito’s “Spoelstra-esque” work ethic and dedication to his craft. Columbian lawmakers obviously felt the same way, as Garavito was sentenced to just 22 years in prison for his crimes, and could possibly be released from jail even earlier due to good behavior. It remains a wonder why the three worst serial killers in the modern era have all come from Columbia.
The point is, Garavito was a master — no, the master — of scouting raw, unpolished talent and manipulating it for his own personal gain. Likewise, Spoelstra was able to turn a team with a league worst 15-67 record into a 2008 playoff contender in his first year as head coach, and now reigns over a roster that includes Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. When/if Garavito is released in 2021, Spoelstra should probably consider hiring him, for what better way is there to motivate a bunch of prima donna athletes than the fear of an untimely and brutal, torture-induced death?
None. The answer is none.