NBA News: Zaza Pachulia says Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s rants influenced death threats against his family

Zaza Pachulia of the Golden State Warriors
PHOTOGRAPH: Keith Allison/Flickr | Zaza Pachulia of the Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia earned plenty of criticisms after injuring San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Pachulia revealed that his family is receiving death threats because of coach Gregg Popovich’s rant on him.

“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 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.”

Zaza Pachulia said he has no problem dealing with the hatreds and threats since it’s part of the world he’s currently in. However, he hates to see his innocent wife and kids suffering and claimed that Popovich played a major role in their current situation.

Zaza Pachulia urges Pop to consider the power of his words

No one can blame coach Gregg Popovich for saying such thing. It could be his way to express his frustration. His best player just went down in the most crucial part of the season. Before Kawhi Leonard suffered an injury, the Spurs were in a strong position to beat the Warriors.

However, everything changed when he went out of the court and never returned. Popovich described Pachulia’s closeout as “unsportsmanlike” and “dangerous” and recalled his history of dirty plays. Despite the tirades, Pachulia still respects Popovich but hopes he’ll be more careful with his words.

“I’m going to defend my team, but I’m not going to send a message saying this guy killed (a player), is a murderer or whatever, manslaughter, because people take it differently. We live in a society where not everybody has intelligence, or understanding or is thinking of what’s right and what’s wrong. We’re going to move on. Hopefully (the fans) can let it go. But you know, I’m sure that a year later, 10 years later, (his family is) still going to remember this moment – and not in a good way. It’s something where your heart breaks, and even though life goes on you still feel it in a bad way. I think that’s going to be the case,” Pachulia said.

Zaza Pachulia questionable in Game 4 against the Spurs

Pachulia suffered a contusion in his right heel in Game 2 where he only played seven minutes. The MRI revealed that there’s no structural damage in his injury but he’s still unable to play in Game 3. Rosalyn Gold-Onwude of NBC Sports reported that Pachulia remains questionable in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday night.

Photo courtesy: Keith Alliso/Flickr

Video courtesy: Youtube/Kilo Goodwin

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