Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia says he and his family have been receiving threats from angry fans after an incident in a May 14 game between the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs.
During the third quarter of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, San Antonio Spurs player Kawhi Leonard injured his ankle after landing on Pachulia, who was trying to stop Leonard’s shot. Leonard was pulled off court and the Spurs lost the game.
In an interview with USA Today's Sam Amick on May 21st, Pachulia said he had to hire security for his children’s safety at school because of the constant threats. Pachulia lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich heavily criticised Pachulia for the controversial foul that caused Kawhi Leonard to leave the pitch with a serious injury, referring to Pachulia as a dirty player and comparing his play to ”manslaughter.”
Pachulia says that he started receiving threats after Spurs coach Popovich’s harsh criticism, and that Popovich should have considered the effect his comments would have on fans.
“What he said had a lot of influence,” Pachulia told USA Today. “(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... I just hate my family going through that. They don’t deserve that… I’m not blaming everything on [Spurs coach Popovich], but he was a very big part of it.”