Gregg Popovich tells off Spurs crowd for booing Kawhi Leonard
Gregg Popovich was not having the disrespect for Kawhi Leonard on Wednesday night.
The San Antonio Spurs and LA Clippers met for the second of a two-game set at San Antonio’s Frost Bank Center. The LA Clippers star Leonard heard loud boos from the home crowd during both games with audible jeers raining down just about every single time that he touched the ball.
While Leonard was shooting free throws in the first half on Wednesday to another cascade of boos, the Spurs coach Popovich decided to take matters into his own hands. In the middle of Leonard’s trip to the charity stripe, an angry Popovich took to the PA system to address the San Antonio crowd.
“Excuse me for a second,” said Popovich. “Can we stop all the booing and let these guys play? It’s got no class, it’s not who we are. Knock off the booing.”
Here is the video of the almost surreal moment.
Gregg Popovich grabbed the mic to tell fans to stop booing Kawhi Leonard at the free-throw line 😳
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) November 23, 2023
Popovich’s message apparently fell on deaf ears though as the boos only seemed to get even louder for Leonard’s second free-throw attempt.
Leonard played for the Spurs from 2011-18 but still gets a harsh reception every single time he returns to San Antonio. Spurs fans still remember how Leonard forced his way out of town after a dispute over the team’s handling of his injury. Leonard even seemed to beef with Popovich himself on his way out the door.
But none of that takes away from what Leonard was able to accomplish in a Spurs uniform. The team wouldn’t have won the 2014 NBA title without him (for which Leonard was named the Finals MVP). He was also a homegrown Spur whose development into one of the best two-way players in the league was overseen by Popovich. As a result, Popovich, who had already called for respect for Leonard during previous return trips to San Antonio, is not here for any derision towards The Klaw.