Zaza Pachulia has received an extensive amount of backlash for his incident with Kawhi Leonard, but the comments now have extended to his family.
In Game 1 of the Western Conference finals between the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, Pachulia landed on Leonard’s already-injured ankle while trying to block a shot, which has sidelined the Spurs star since.
Pachulia claimed it was an accident, but Gregg Popovich held a different view. The San Antonio head coach likened it to “manslaughter,” claiming intent didn’t matter.
The Warriors big man believes Popovich’s comments have had something to do with the recent threats.
“(Fans) just hear the message, and it’s, ‘Ok, Pop said so and now let’s do this,'” Pachulia told USA Today. “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.”
Pachulia, a 14-year NBA veteran, is fine with taking the heat following the incident, but wishes his family was left out of it.
“Me as a person, as a man, I don’t mind dealing with it,” he said. “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.”
Pachulia also said the threats have intensified to the point that extra security has been implemented at his children’s school.
The Warriors would advance to the NBA Finals with a win in Game 4 on Monday night.
Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images
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