Leonard, who scored 26 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out nine assists in the 134-109 win over the Spurs, was booed during the starting-lineup announcements and any time he touched the ball. He didn’t let the crowd affect his play and was asked about the reception he received at the AT&T Center after the game.
“The boos is just love,” he told reporters, according to USA Today. “Just taking it as that, I’m here for a reason, to win a ball game. It only can make me better and make our team better with the crowd not being on our side.”
Leonard famously rubbed Spurs fans the wrong way after he forced a trade to the Toronto Raptors prior to the start of the 2018-19 season. Leonard then helped the Raptors to their first NBA championship and signed with the Clippers in the following offseason.
“It’s a part of the game. It’s the type of player I am, just the way I probably left and how it was portrayed,” Leonard said. “I don’t make no sense of it. I know it’s a game and it’s competitive. When we’re not playing or if I’m walking on the street and I see somebody from San Antonio, they thank me for everything I did. They respect the way I played when I was here. It’s just a part of the game, I feel like.”
Leonard played seven seasons with the Spurs and averaged 16.3 points and 6.2 rebounds in 407 career games. He also helped the Spurs to an NBA title in 2014.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.