SAITAMA, JAPAN (Reuters) – US men’s basketball coach Greg Popovich praised the sportsmanship displayed by his players and rival Iran during Wednesday’s Tokyo Olympic match, saying it showed the sport’s ability to overcome differences runs.
After the game, which the US won 120–66, Popovich said that his team played well against a “very hardworking Iranian team”.
Asked about the importance of the two countries facing each other in the Games, Popovich said the people were able to work out national policy differences.
“In general, people in different countries do much better than their governments,” he told reporters. “Once you get to the politicians, it suddenly gets a lot more complicated.”
Wednesday’s game recalled a football match between the two countries at the 1998 World Cup, when Iranians gave flowers to American rivals as a sign of respect. The two teams also posed for a photo together before the match to show solidarity.
The conflict ended with Iran’s 2–1 victory on that occasion.
Popovich said on Wednesday, “Olympics… surpasses all of this.” “It’s no surprise that coaches like to get to know each other, talk and players like to show their sportsmanship, they do. I just want that to happen in real life.”
Copyright © Thomson Reuters.