Warriors’ Zaza Pachulia, Family Threatened After Kawhi Leonard Incident & Popovich Comments
Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals was on its way to a surprising ending until Kawhi Leonard went down with an ankle injury after Warriors center Zaza Pachulia slid under him while he was shooting.
Once the footage was reviewed, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich went on a tirade about how dirty Zaza is and has been during his career.
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) May 15, 2017
Those comments seemed to fan the flames of hatred towards Zaza, and his family has being getting death threats as a result.
Via USA Today:
“What Pachulia can’t tolerate and what he wishes Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would have considered when he fanned the rage of so many fans by deeming the 33-year-old a dirty player and even comparing the play to “manslaughter,” are the social media threats to his family that have left them all shaken. While Pachulia was hesitant to share too many details, the situation was serious enough that security guards were deployed to the entrance of his children’s’ school in the San Francisco Bay Area as a precaution.
“I don’t blame everything on Pop, but what he said had a lot of influence (and) you had a lot of people where, unfortunately, you can’t control what everybody’s intelligence is,” Pachulia, who has an eight-year-old son, a seven-year-old son, and a four-year-old daughter with his wife, told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday. “(Fans) just hear the message, and it’s, ‘Ok, Pop said so and now let’s do this.’ It’s just wrong. You’ve got to think, and realize. Threaten me, but don’t threaten my wife or say something about my kids. It’s just wrong.
“Me as a person, as a man, I don’t mind dealing with it. But I hate to see my family deal with it. My wife and my kids who have nothing to do with it, who are very innocent. … I just hate my family going through that. They don’t deserve that. … I’m not blaming everything on (Popovich), but he was a very big part of it.”
. “Even though sometimes my wife doesn’t want to show it, it’s obvious. We’ve been together for 10 years now, so 10 years is a long time to know somebody. Every move. Every breath. … It’s very emotional for her, especially the traveling (for Games 3 and 4). She’s by herself. And even though I’m pretty sure nothing is going to happen, still when you get this kind of threatening messages, you don’t know.
“Look at what happened at the school. It was unfortunate. They had to get extra security because we are living in a world today where social media is so active, you can find any news you want to, hear any news you want to, and obviously it’s a hot topic lately. They just had hired extra security for the entrance, and make sure nobody goes in the school. … It’s just not fair. It does upset me.”
Up 3-0 in the series, Leonard has yet to return to the court after the incident as the Warriors get set to go for a sweep on Monday night.