Toronto Raptors: Kawhi Leonard left without saying goodbye, does it matter?

Kawhi Leonard left the Toronto Raptors without bidding the city, its fans, and an entire country adieu. Does any of this really matter? 

A week has passed since Kawhi Leonard left the Toronto Raptors. His decision to join the Los Angeles Clippers was one of many in what could be considered the craziest NBA offseason ever.

The Raptors have started to move on too. They have added players such as Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. However, there is still one question lingering in the minds of Raptors fans: “Does it matter that Kawhi Leonard left without saying goodbye?” 

To find the answer to this question we should reiterate something that everyone already knows. Kawhi Leonard is a man of very few words.

In due time Kawhi Leonard will thank Toronto and the Raptors fan base. How could a player not thank a city that was going to let him eat free for life? The generosity, passion, and love Raptors fans showed for him and the team will not go unnoticed.

Leonard is now a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. But instead of waiting for his “goodbye”, why not start planning his welcome home?

In the present, it stings to think about what could have been. However, in the future Raptors, fans should welcome “The King of The North” back with a warm reception. For a player who did not ask to be here, he gave his all and beyond.

The reality is, is that Kawhi’s “goodbye” does not matter. It will not change anything that has transpired. Quite frankly, it may not even give the Raptors faithful the closure they are hoping for.

There is another way to look at all this. Kawhi’s “thank you” or “goodbye” may never come in words. However, it will always be visible in his actions.

When this storybook run is revisited, it will be visible for all to see. Kawhi Leonard, perhaps the greatest player in franchise history, delivering the Raptors to the promised land. The top of the NBA mountain.

Perhaps waiting for a “goodbye” from Kawhi is the wrong way to see it.  Starting in October, Leonard’s farewell to the Raptors will be on display for all. An NBA championship banner, the first of its kind in Scotiabank Arena.

Kawhi Leonard is a man of very few words. He will not create a social media post, full-page newspaper ad, or farewell article in the Players Tribune. However, Kawhi has given Toronto and Canada something more powerful than “goodbye.”

Think of the emotional roller coaster the 2019 Toronto Raptors took basketball fans on. Think of the pride and joy of finally winning an NBA Championship. Think of the gutwrenching years of disappointment it took to get here.

Hearing the words “goodbye” and “thank you” lose their value over time. However, championship banners and storybook title runs are forever.

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Toronto may never get the farewell it deserves from Kawhi Leonard. To be honest, that is perfectly okay. What it did get, is a magical year that culminated in winning the NBA’s ultimate prize.

That is why it does not matter that Kawhi Leonard left Toronto without bidding adieu. What the 28-year old helped the Raptors and an entire country achieve, is more meaningful than a farewell speech could ever be.