clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kawhi Leonard’s tense return to San Antonio featured shouts of ‘TRAITOR’ and lots of boos

It also featured a warm embrace with Gregg Popovich once the game ended.

Toronto Raptors v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green made their long-awaited first return to San Antonio after the Spurs traded them to Toronto for DeMar DeRozan, and it was an open question whether Spurs fans would boo the star who helped deliver the franchise their fifth NBA championship five seasons ago.

They did. Spurs fans booed Leonard — but they cheered Green.

They also called Leonard a traitor, in unison.

But Leonard and his former coach Gregg Popovich shared a moment after San Antonio handed Toronto its Thursday night beatdown. They smiled, hugged each other, and walked off the court together.

Popovich later said he felt “badly” about the boos.

I felt badly about it. Kawhi’s a high-character guy. We all make decisions with our lives, what we’re going to do with our futures. He has that same right as any of us. So I felt badly, in all honesty.

Green was incredibly popular in San Antonio. He spent eight seasons on the Spurs as a 3-and-D wing who helped shore up the perimeter on both ends for Popovich’s team. It’s why he embraced everyone when he returned to town.

Leonard, on the other hand, warmed up on the Toronto end of the court without greeting Popovich or many of his old teammates, choosing instead to do so after the game.

Leonard and Green were also given a tribute video together, instead of a video for each one of them.