Lowry on Kawhi Leonard: 'He Jokes. He Really Laughs and Has Fun with Everything'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2019

TORONTO, ON - MAY 12:  Kawhi Leonard #2 (R) of the Toronto Raptors speaks with Kyle Lowry #7 after sinking a buzzer beater to win Game Seven of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers at Scotiabank Arena on May 12, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry continued to heap praise on teammate Kawhi Leonard after the franchise earned its first NBA Finals berth with a 100-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night.

Lowry told Michael Lee of The Athletic it didn't take long for him to realize Leonard was a special talent after the superstar arrived in a July trade from the San Antonio Spurs.

"Right away, first day," Lowry said. "People don't know, he really is an unbelievable dude, really an unbelievable guy. It's fortunate for us to be on our team and to be around him. He jokes. He really laughs and has fun with everything. He really is a good guy."

Leonard has become known for his stone-cold public persona and stoic responses in interviews.

In September, his laugh became a viral sensation after a moment during his media-day press conference:

Although the 2014 NBA Finals MVP doesn't appear to enjoy the spotlight that comes along with being one of the league's best players, rarely is a poor word spoken about him from those who've dealt with him away from the television cameras.

"Kawhi was a great teammate all the way through," Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters after the July trade. "All the stories that denigrated him in that regard, that was unfortunate and inaccurate."

Lowry spoke highly of Leonard's impact heading into Game 6.

"The Kawhi thing and how he approaches s--t is unbelievable," he told Lee. "He stays mellow, calm, and I think we kind of took that. He just brought that with him."

Leonard (player option) can choose to be an unrestricted free agent at season's end, and—in typical fashion—he hasn't publicly discussed his mindset.

But he's clearly made a massive impact during his relatively short stay in Toronto, and it would be a major setback if he leaves over the summer.

Raptors fans would probably forgive him if he brings home an NBA championship first, though. The two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors await in the Finals.

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