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- Gregg Popovich is a big believer in lengthy team dinners, often ordering the nicest bottles of wine at some of the nicest restaurants in America.
- According to a story on ESPN, Popovich not only often picks up the tab but also leaves generous tips in the five figures, hands wads of cash to the kitchen staff, leaves game tickets, and even sends workers bottles of his custom wine.
- The ESPN story estimated that it’s possible that Popovich spends up to seven figures per year on these extravagant meals.
In 2017, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich made the news for reportedly leaving a $5,000 tip on an $800 bill at a restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee.
According to a story from ESPN’s Baxter Holmes on Popovich’s food and wine habits, that’s par for the course for Popovich, who may be the NBA’s most extravagant diner.
Popovich is a firm believer in team dinners and is renowned for choosing the nicest restaurants cities have to offer and ordering their best wines. Even chefs and sommeliers who spoke with Holmes said that Popovich knows his stuff.
According to Holmes, Popovich is also known for picking up the tab and leaving generous tips. Holmes estimated that, given Popovich’s habit of picking up the bill at nice restaurants then leaving huge tips dozens of times during the NBA season, it’s possible that he spends in the millions per year on dinners.
Factored into that is Popovich’s generous tipping habits. According to Holmes, Popovich frequently leaves five-figure tips, hands wads of cash out for the kitchen staff, leaves tickets to Spurs games, and even sends workers bottles of his rare custom wine, Rock and Hammer.
The former NBA coach Don Nelson told Holmes: “He’s spent more on wine and dinners than my whole salary.”
Holmes shared one anecdote from a high-end Italian restaurant in Sacramento, California, where Popovich was so delighted with the wine list that he bought several bottles, totaling $15,000 to $20,000 in wine sales. The restaurant owner didn’t believe it when he first saw the totals later on.
Popovich told reporters before an NBA Finals game in 2013: “What’s my legacy? Food and wine. This is just a job.”
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