Kawhi Leonard: It's 'Disappointing' People Thought Injury with Spurs Was Fake

Megan ArmstrongCorrespondent IIJune 14, 2019

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard celebrates after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

Kawhi Leonard spoke loudest with his play, culminating in his second NBA title and second NBA Finals MVP on Thursday night as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6.

Following the victory, however, the All-Star forward spoke to ESPN's Rachel Nichols about the tumultuous last two years of his career. 

"A lot of people thought I was faking the injury or didn't want to play for my team, and that was disappointing to me," he said. "So just going through that, I knew I just had to trust myself. It doesn't matter what anyone had to say about me."

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

“A lot of people were doubting me. Thought I was either faking an injury or didn’t want to play for a team.” - Kawhi on his incredible comeback #NBAFinals https://t.co/a7nTlXM8G5

Leonard was referring to the lingering quadriceps injury that held him out of all but nine games last season with the San Antonio Spurs. The perceived mystery surrounding the Spurs' handling of his recovery caused an irreconcilable rift between Leonard and the organization. 

As a result, Leonard was traded to the Raptors. 

Toronto was proactive with the 27-year-old's health all season long, implementing load management that limited him to 60 regular-season games. In the postseason, Leonard repaid them by leading the Raptors to their first championship in franchise history behind 30.5 points per game.