Kawhi Leonard had expected a mixed reaction Wednesday night, but received nothing but love from Raptors Nation in his return.
Leonard got his championship ring, and the city of Toronto showed him their appreciation for delivering the first NBA title in franchise history.
Kawhi said his magical one-season journey in Canada has “come full circle now.”
The reigning NBA Finals MVP finished with 23 points, 5 rebounds and six assists in the LA Clippers’ 112-92 victory.
Per The LA Times:
“It meant a lot. Again, some players just don’t let you in. But I can tell you that ovation, to him, was very heartfelt,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “There’s no doubt about that. It meant a lot to him.”
Leonard called it “a great moment.” He walked on the court and embraced each of his old coaches and teammates before getting the diamond jewelry from [Kyle] Lowry. He thanked the crowd by raising both hands in the air, the same way he celebrated winning that title.
Right before the game began, Leonard was the first Clipper on the court, six separate video cameras following his every movement and breath.
“As far as winning a championship, it pretty much has come full circle now, being able to get the ring and see where the hard work came from,” Leonard said before going out to dinner with Lowry and his wife. “But it’s more than that. It’s just a journey.”