Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Spurs comeback falls short, Popovich grabs mic to quiet down the crowd

Courtesy of NBAE/Michael Gonzalez

San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich grabbed the microphone in the middle of Wednesday’s Spurs and Clippers matchup to chastise the crowd at the Frost Bank Center, telling the fans to stop booing Kawhi Leonard and the rest of the Los Angeles squad.

The fans were relentless with their jeers towards the former Spur from the starting lineup. After Leonard was sent to the free-throw line with 3:06 remaining in the first half, Popovich decided to take matters into his own hands.

“Excuse me for a second,” Popovich said to admonish the crowd. “Can we stop all the booing and let these guys play? Have a little class. It’s not who we are. Knock off the booing.”

Popovich was short post-game with his reasoning for his public service announcement. 

“Well I think anybody who knows anything about sports, you don’t poke the bear,” Popovich said.

Leonard seemed unbothered, having made both free throws and finishing the evening with a game-high 26 points in the Clippers 109-102 win over San Antonio.

Leonard, who was the NBA Finals MVP in the Spurs championship run in 2014, left San Antonio back in July of 2018 after demanding a trade. 

Los Angeles played back-to-back games in the Alamo City, having won the first game 124-99 on Monday night. Leonard, who has returned to the Frost Bank Center several times since his abrupt departure, understands the fans’ passion.

“They’re one of the best fans in the league and very competitive,” Leonard said. “Once I step on this court, they show that they’re going for the other side. When I’m on the streets or going into restaurants, they show love.”

Spurs guard Jeremy Sochan, who finished Wednesday’s game with 19 points and seven assists, was on his coach’s side.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Sochan said. “You don’t know what’s going on in Kawhi’s head. He’s done so much for this organization so there’s no need to disrespect him like that. I guess it’s part of the game but at the same time, he’s human, too. At the end of the day, I respect what coach Pop did.”

Rookie forward Victor Wembanyama, who finished with a team-high 22 points, did not see Popovich’s reaction as something to remember.

“To me, of course, looking back, it’s an interesting moment but it’s nothing to make noise about I think,” Wembanyama said. “I think it’s definitely not a big deal to me.”

San Antonio will look to snap its 10-game losing streak as they play the Golden State Warriors in the In-Season Tournament at 9 p.m. Friday at the Chase Center.

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About the Contributor
Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor
Luke (he/him) is an English major at UTSA and is set to graduate in the Spring of 2024. This is his fifth semester at The Paisano and his fourth as the Sports Editor. Along with covering UTSA sports and events, Luke also covers high school sports and local events for the San Antonio Express-News and covers the San Antonio Spurs for The Paisano. He has a huge passion for covering sports and giving his opinion on them. Outside of writing and talking about sports, Luke's hobbies include playing basketball, watching movies and all things outdoors.

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