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."

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.

Related

    AD Trade Was Lakers' Only Chance at a Star

    According to multiple sources, LA's chances at landing a star in free agency were 'dwindling'

    NBA logo
    NBA

    AD Trade Was Lakers' Only Chance at a Star

    According to multiple sources, LA's chances at landing a star in free agency were 'dwindling'

    Ken Berger
    via Bleacher Report

    Raptors Parade Will Bring Back Memories for Toronto Sports Fans

    Toronto Raptors logo
    Toronto Raptors

    Raptors Parade Will Bring Back Memories for Toronto Sports Fans

    Joseph Hall
    via thestar.com

    Best, Worst Landing Spots for Top FAs Post-AD Trade

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Best, Worst Landing Spots for Top FAs Post-AD Trade

    Andy Bailey
    via Bleacher Report

    Buzz: Lakers Plan to Pursue Kawhi After AD Trade

    Toronto Raptors logo
    Toronto Raptors

    Buzz: Lakers Plan to Pursue Kawhi After AD Trade

    Tyler Conway
    via Bleacher Report