May 17, 2021

Zaza Pachulia speaks about the 2017 playoff incident

In-game one of the 2017 Western Conference Finals between the Spurs and the Warriors an incident happened that change the fortune of the San Antonio Spurs. In the middle of the third quarter, Spurs dominated the Golden State Warriors at Oracle leading by 25 points. In a certain play, Kawhi Leonard had the ball in the corner, and the shot clock went down. With a switch, Zaza Pachulia was forced to guard him. But that one play, it changes the course of the game and the series. Then the Spurs’ future when Leonard and Spurs camp didn’t agree about his health situation.

Zaza Pachulia was the second-worst name for the fans of San Antonio Spurs. But for more than four years, he speaks about that certain play.

Every 3-point shot is challenged. For that reason, that awkward landing always can happen. Another crazy thing, another small but important detail. Two minutes before that incident happened to Kawhi Leonard on my foot. Two minutes before, Kawhi was going to check into the game, he stepped on his own teammate’s foot and he rolled his ankle. Two minutes before that. Nobody is talking about it, nobody.

Again, it is crazy for me to have to keep saying it was a freak accident, because we have seen so many moments of that.”

One of the first things I did, after my incident with Kawhi, I didn’t have his number, but we are family in the NBA, so I found his number and I texted him. I apologized to him, whatever happened I told him ‘Listen, this definitely was not on purpose, and hopefully he’s going to get back soon on the court.’ I wanted him to know from me because there were so many words out there from left or right, I just wanted him to hear from me.

One of the biggest what if in basketball history, maybe the Spurs could win it all that year. Maybe the Spurs still have Kawhi Leonard, that play will remain in the Spurs fan’s mind like a scar.

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