Clippers’ Paul George on why he gets booed in Indiana, why Kawhi Leonard gets booed in San Antonio
Los Angeles Clippers small forward Paul George has gotten heavily booed in all three games he has played against the Indiana Pacers in Indiana. The same goes for his teammate Kawhi Leonard, who was received with boos from the San Antonio Spurs crowd in the two games he has played in San Antonio as a visitor.
Indiana traded George to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the summer of 2017 after the swingman told the Pacers he wasn’t going to re-sign with them when he became a free agent in 2018.
Leonard, meanwhile, requested a trade from the Spurs in the summer of 2018 after only playing in nine games during the 2017-18 season due to a lingering quadriceps injury. The new Clippers star was unhappy with the way San Antonio managed his injury and hell-bent on continuing his career elsewhere.
While Leonard received a warm reception in Toronto on Wednesday night, George spoke to Michael Lee of The Athletic about why he and Leonard will likely always get booed every time they go back to Indiana and San Antonio, respectively:
“Because a couple of weeks ago, we were in San Antonio and (Leonard) received the same treatment that I received,” George said. “So, um, it’s basically they look at us as bad guys when things don’t go the way they want it to go. And that’s just the narrative on those stories, when a player dictates where he wants to go.
“In a small market, small towns you get it. Especially with a player like myself. They feel like I was homegrown there. I embodied them. I grew up there. I became one of them. And again, in a small market, when they see their players go away, there’s a resentment. And I think that’s honestly what it is. But that’s what it is. That story is not going to be old. They’re going to continue to hate, boo, be mad or bitter about these types of stories. It’s a part of sports. It’s nothing that’s going to change how people feel about that.”
Both George and Leonard are ready to move on from the past and eager to lead the Clippers to their first-ever championship.
The Clippers are 19-7 on the season. They have the second-best record in the Western Conference, trailing only the Los Angeles Lakers, who are 22-3.