Kawhi Leonard made his return to the city he called home for seven seasons Thursday night when the Toronto Raptors faced off against the San Antonio Spurs. Unsurprisingly, he was met with a lot of boos from the crowd, as his tenure with the Spurs ended in a lot of conflict between the finals MVP and his organization. Not only was he booed, the crowd even started chanting “Traitor” at one point while he was on the free throw line.
The cheers for Danny Green's return to San Antonio QUICKLY turned to boos for Kawhi Leonard pic.twitter.com/Oj7C9AhlTD— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 4, 2019
While it may not have been all that of a surprise that Leonard was met with this reaction, a lot of people felt that it was not deserving. Denver Nuggets’ guard Isaiah Thomas is one of those people, as he posted the following tweets Thursday night.
That man won a championship for y’all and u boo him?? That ain’t it!— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) January 4, 2019
Take the “fan” hat off for once and put the “player” hat on and see if you will still boo a player...— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) January 4, 2019
Let us come to your job and BOO you for 2hrs for you looking out for YOURSELF when teams time after time do what’s best for THEM!— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) January 4, 2019
This is a debate that did not start with Leonard. Many players are treated poorly by fans of their former teams when they make their returns, especially those that decided to leave the team and did so in a less than graceful way. Still, Thomas makes the point that it seems to be unfair of the fans to have reacted the way they did, considering that Leonard was such a huge contributing factor to their 2014 championship. His point about players being criticized for leaving a team while owners can trade players at the drop of a hat is also a good argument.
Regardless of which side of the debate you stand on, I think we can all appreciate Thomas’ willingness to publicly stand up for a player that he feels is being treated unfairly. It’s just one of the reasons why he has been by far the best tweeter of the season for the Nuggets.