Spurs coach Gregg Popovich takes on Trump and racism in a powerful speech.

It's time we had some difficult conversations as a country.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has a bone to pick with President Donald Trump's attitude toward politics and sports.

An outspoken critic of Trump, the five-time NBA champion coach laid into the president during a press conference on Monday, critiquing his "childishness" and "gratuitous fear-mongering." This came after a weekend in which Trump uninvited the NBA champion Golden State Warriors from the White House and raged against NFL players protesting police violence.

"Our country is an embarrassment to the world," Popovich added, referencing Trump's antics during his first months in office.


Popovich didn't stop there.

He brought the conversation back around to the real topic at hand: race and racism in America.

"Obviously, race is the elephant in the room, and we all understand that," he said, shrugging off the idea that if we simply stop talking about racism that it'll somehow just go away.

"There has to be an uncomfortable element in the discourse for anything to change, whether it's the LGBT community or women's suffrage, race, it doesn't matter," he said. "People have to be made to feel uncomfortable and especially white people because we're comfortable."

"We still have no clue of what being born white means," he said.

Using a (what else?) sports metaphor, Popovich explained that being born white is like having a head start during a 100-meter dash. While there's no guarantee the head start means you'll win the race and while your hard work you put into training for the run shouldn't be discounted, it's still a head start. There shouldn't be any harm in acknowledging the advantage you were given.

"[White people] have advantages that are systemically, culturally, psychologically there," he explained. "And they have been built up and cemented for hundreds of years. But many people can't look at it, it's too difficult. It can't be something that is on their plate on a daily basis. People want to hold their position, people want the status quo, people don't want to give that up. Until it's given up, it's not going to be fixed."

Popovich's metaphor is a spot-on example of what exactly the oft misunderstood phrase "white privilege" means.

Replying to Sports Illustrated's tweet about Popovich's comments, one person remarked, "Hey Pop, where do I cash my 'congrats on being white' check? Don't think that came with my birth certificate, I must've gotten ripped off." The tweet was a classic example of what happens when white people are asked to consider their position and what their whiteness means in the world.

Poet Remi Kanazi responded brilliantly: "You cash it whenever you're pulled over by a cop, in a store not being followed, at an interview for a job, or trying to get an apartment."

No person should have to worry about being shot by the police, treated with suspicion, or discriminated against in the workplace because of the color of their skin. Right now, in America, white people don't have to worry about that. Non-white people do. The goal in the fight for racial justice isn't to bring privileged groups down, but to lift oppressed groups up. It's about finding the same starting line in the metaphorical 100-meter dash.

Watch Popovich's comments on race below:

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

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Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

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Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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