Gregg PopovichNormally gruff San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich showed his soft side this weekend with a touching message for TNT NBA analyst Craig Sager, who was recently diagnosed with acute leukemia.

Apparently, Sager didn’t like Pop’s odd break in character.

In an interview with on Monday, Sager joked that it’d be very odd if Popovich started being nice to him when he returned to the sidelines.

“Pop saying he wanted me back and then promising to be nice? I was like, Oh, my God, that’s unbelievable, what an honor,” Sager said. “But then I started thinking about it: If I come back and Pop starts being nice to me, it just wouldn’t be right. I want him to go Serbian on me.”

The 65-year-old Popovich, whose father is Serbian, has a long history of being terse with the media and has called out Sager on many occasions for his colorful suit choices.

All joking aside, Popovich and many others have expressed their support for Sager as he battles his illness. Sager has been very appreciative of these gestures, even if it means seeing a rather unusual side of the grumpy Spurs coach.

“This support has been overwhelming,” Sager said. “I just want everyone to know I am hanging in there. I miss being on the sidelines, but I have no choice: I am sidelined. So instead of the 40 games in 40 nights, I have 40 veins and 40 electrolytes.”