Much has been made of the camaraderie Kawhi Leonard has developed with his teammates in his one year with the Toronto Raptors. Every interview was parsed as a Rorschach test of sorts, whether Leonard’s every interaction would be indicative of if he’d want to stay, and how much he cared about the team.
Those questions can be put to rest forever now, as Leonard led the Raptors to their first title in franchise history, defeating the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 on Thursday.
Leonard was named Finals MVP for the second time in his career, and shared a beautiful moment with Raptors guard Kyle Lowry backstage, prior to an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.
Just did a really cool interview with Kawhi and Kyle Lowry, about how they got here and everything this title means, and here’s what happened before we even started rolling. Special. pic.twitter.com/jpZIBJlxdI
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) June 14, 2019
Here’s the entire exchange:
Leonard, off-camera: Yeah! Big Kyle!
Lowry: Hey! Big ‘Whi, what’s up dawg?
Leonard: Nothing, man
Lowry: How you feeling?
Leonard: Just limpin’ around but I don’t gotta play one more game (both laugh)
Lowry: You feel me, I’m feeling good, baby!
Leonard, hands Lowry the Finals MVP trophy: Here man, you deserve it.
Lowry: Oh yeah, this is nice.
Leonard: This is real nice, man.
Lowry: Take a selfie and everything.
Lowry: Here, I took your trophy.
Leonard: Man, enjoy it, man. You deserve it too. You’re the most valuable player tonight, you came out...
Lowry: ... had to make sure. I’m holding that man’s trophy for him, I’m holding my teammates’ trophy for him.
Leonard: I’ll share that. I don’t need it. I just won a Larry OB.
Lowry: That’s all that matters.
Leonard: The journey, man, the journey.
Nichols: Kawhi already has one of those!
Lowry: It don’t matter, he got two. He’s got two and he got a Larry OB
Nichols: That’s why he’s so generous and wants to share with you.
If you read into the rampant speculation, you would’ve never believed a moment like this was possible. Leonard deserves his privacy, because the moments he does share with the public are indeed worth it. Now his place in Raptors history, alongside Lowry, is cemented forever.
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