With the San Antonio Spurs playing deep into the postseason so often, tensions were frequently high, and attention was on them often. Naturally, enemies were formed, relationships were soured, and villains were made.
Yesterday, we kicked off Air Alamo’s Biggest Spurs Villain of All Time tournament with some heavy hitters in the Black Conference.
Today’s Silver Conference matchups will be more of the same big names. From ex-Spurs to heartbreakers, here are the first-round showdowns to determine the most despised man in San Antonio.
Spurned Exes Division: 1. Kawhi Leonard vs. 8. Stephen Jackson
1. Kawhi Leonard
If you asked any Spurs fan in June 2014 what they thought of Kawhi Leonard, they’d be grinning from ear to ear as they beamed over their quiet superstar. I would’ve done the same. Little did we all know, he’d become one of the most despised guys in San Antonio a few years later.
There’s way too much to the Leonard saga to give a full report, and frustratingly way too much we still don’t know about what all went down between him and the Spurs. In short, an injury that occurred against the Golden State 2017 Western Conference Finals kept Kawhi sidelined for the entire series.
The following season, controversy stirred over how the Spurs were managing Kawhi’s injury, with him and his uncle accusing the team of not believing the severity of it and eventually asking out of San Antonio.
Among Spurs faithful, there are three camps when it comes to Kawhi nowadays. Some still root for him for what he accomplished, some wish for him to fail in everything from now on, and some are in-between.
I tend to fall in the in-between camp but heavily lean toward the negative. I understand Leonard wanting to move on to a big market team, but I feel that the way he went about that was all wrong. Of course, that’s just my uninformed opinion since no one really knows exactly what happened besides the team and Kawhi himself.
8. Stephen Jackson
Stephen Jackson is another divisive personality among Spurs fans. He had huge shots in the 2003 playoffs to help San Antonio to its second NBA title, yet he talked trash about those that helped get him there. He’s called Gregg Popovich the smartest coach he ever played for while also saying he wanted to kick him in his face.
Jackson’s personality is a double-edged sword. His swagger and attitude gave him the edge the Spurs needed to complete their ’03 title run. It also currently helps him be an entertaining podcast host of All the Smoke. His lack of humility, however, also got him cut by the Spurs right before the playoffs in 2013.
Jackson, of course, went on to claim that he would’ve gotten the rebound over the 6-11 Chris Bosh and also would’ve locked up Ray Allen to prevent the Spurs’ Game 6 collapse in the 2013 NBA Finals. Sure, Jack.
And speaking of Ray Allen…