Spurs Fan Sues Zaza Pachulia, Warriors For Injuring Kawhi Leonard In Game 1
Spurs fan sues Zaza Pachulia, Warriors for Close-out on Kawhi Leonard
The “devoted, lifelong” fan filed a lawsuit against Pachulia and the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, alleging the center’s aggressiveness against Leonard in San Antonio’s Game 1 loss in Oakland on Sunday “devastated the quality of the Spurs’ chances of being competitive” and decreased “the value of the tickets purchased by plaintiff subsequent to their purchase.”
According to the San Antonio Express-News, the fan — whose name is Juan Vasquez — is seeking up to $73,000 in damages, but is primarily hoping Pachulia can stop his closeouts on the Spurs.
“All we are asking from the court is that this type of behavior, that can and does cause serious injury to our team and those that love it, not be allowed in San Antonio,” Alfonso Kennard Jr., lead attorney for the plaintiffs, told the Express-News.
The lawsuit — which was filed in Bexar County district court in Texas and names Juan Vasquez and a local memorabilia store as co-plaintiffs — claims Pachulia behaved “without excuse or justification, intentionally and maliciously invaded the landing zone of an opposing athlete, Kawhi Leonard.”
District Judge Norma Gonzales on Wednesday rejected the request for a temporary restraining order, per local reports. The 14-day restraining order issues requires the defendants refrain from the behavior described and other relief the plaintiffs are determined to be justly entitled to.
The Warriors center insisted following his team’s victory on Sunday that he is a fair player and that he was simply attempting to play his best.
“My approach to this game for 14 years that I’ve been in the league is to play hard and [give] 100 percent of whatever I have,” Pachulia stated Monday after practice. “So I don’t agree with the calls that I’m a dirty player. I’m not a dirty player. I love this game, and I’m playing hard. That’s what I was taught since day one.”
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich heavily criticized the Georgian, however, calling Pachulia’s actions “unsportsmanlike” and “dangerous.”
“It’s just not what anybody does to anybody else,” Popovich said.
The NBA has not disciplined Pachulia in any way, and stood by its decision that the play stood as called. During Sunday’s opener of the Western Conference Finals at Oracle Arena, Pachulia rotated over to block a long shot from Leonard near San Antonio’s bench, and ended up landing on the Spurs forward’s feet. Leonard rolled his left ankle — which he had already sprained— and lay on the court in pain for several moments.
Leonard missed the Spurs’ Game 2 loss on Tuesday and remains questionable for Game 3 in San Antonio on Saturday.
“The important part is the temporary injunction,” Kennard said, according to CBS affiliate KENS5, with regards to the next possible step of the lawsuit. “It sets the parameters of what parties must abide by pending resolution of the underlying lawsuit.”
OAKLAND, CA – MAY 02: Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Golden State Warriors lays in a basket against the Utah Jazz during Game One of the NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals at ORACLE Arena on May 2, 2017 in Oakland, California.
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