Though at the core they are merely a game, sports have gotten continually more serious over the years, as the stakes and money involved keep getting higher and higher. Unfortunately, that can lead to some pretty bad moments off the field, as has just happened again in with Zaza Pachulia's family in regard to the incident in the third quarter of Game 1, in which Leonard sprained his ankle after landing on Pachulia's foot.
Think what you want about whether it was malicious, but one thing everyone can agree on is that what happened in the aftermath is extremely messed up. According to a report from Sam Amick of USA Today, both Pachulia and his family faced threats after Gregg Popovich's rant about the play, with extra security being needed at the school of Pachulia's children. Via USA Today:
But what Pachulia can't tolerate and what he wishes Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would have considered when he fanned the rage of so many fans by deeming the 33-year-old a dirty player and even comparing the play to "manslaughter," are the social media threats to his family that have left them all shaken. While Pachulia was hesitant to share too many details, the situation was serious enough that security guards were deployed to the entrance of his childrens' school in the San Francisco Bay Area as a precaution.
"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, who has an eight-year-old son, a seven-year-old son, and a four-year-old daughter with his wife, 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.
"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, 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."
This is just ... man.
I know Spurs fans were upset after that play, and rightfully so. Even if it wasn't intentional, no one wants to see their team's star player go down. But to take it to this level is really disappointing. Nothing -- especially a sports game -- should ever be taken so seriously that you threaten someone's kids.