Kawhi Leonard’s thank you to the Toronto Raptors was more than enough

Toronto Raptors (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images) /

Kawhi Leonard finally said thank you and goodbye to the Toronto Raptors in his introductory press conference with the Los Angeles Clippers. It wasn’t much, but it was enough.

Call it clarity or whatever you want, but Kawhi Leonard finally said goodbye to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday afternoon.

When Leonard first left Toronto at the start of July, fans alike were expecting a long-winded goodbye to go hand in hand with the greatest season in Raptors history. They wanted Kawhi Leonard to reciprocate their emotions. A full-page newspaper article about or Twitter video would have sufficed in their minds.

Instead, fans were left to wait for an entire month until his introductory press conference with the Los Angeles Clippers. Some fans understandably assumed that there might not even be a goodbye. A lot of time had passed, so you would be forgiven for thinking as much.

In the end, Leonard stood up on stage, thanking the city, it’s fans, the medical staff, and the team. Adding in a special thanks to restaurants of Toronto, for their Ka’Wine and Dine promotion, in an effort to get Leonard to stay with the Raptors. Ultimately, free delicatessen for life just wasn’t enough.

It wasn’t a rousing speech of approval for the Raptors faithful, or even a strongly heartfelt message dissecting his time in Toronto. But it didn’t need to be, that would be completely off-brand.

Everyone knows the social media presence of Kawhi Leonard is non-existent, he said so himself. His time in the NBA has shown that Leonard isn’t one for public shows of sentimentality. He lets his play on the court do all the talking, that’s always been the case.

And boy, was his play on the court enough talk. Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to their first-ever NBA championship on the back of one of the greatest individual postseason runs of all time. Leonard averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 3.9 assists across 24 playoff games.

It all featured some great moments along the way, and it ended with Leonard winning his second Finals MVP award and the Raptors hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy. As always, that’s enough of a goodbye in this book.

Let’s not live in this strange inferiority complex where a goodbye isn’t enough. That stuff doesn’t matter anymore. I mean, it matters a little. The goodbye might have been a little underwhelming, but so what?

It was classic Kawhi Leonard. Short, sweet, and straight to the point. No-fuss. We didn’t want to fuss when he was here. Raptors fans just wanted Kawhi to be Kawhi. Under the radar and concentrating on basketball. That’s all he ever is.

And that’s all he’ll ever be. So what?

Does Kyle Lowry need to retire with the Toronto Raptors?. dark. Next

Kawhi is Kawhi, Toronto is still Toronto. And the Raptors are still NBA champions. Sometimes thank you and goodbye is all that’s ever needed. Being underwhelmed or upset that Kawhi didn’t take out a newspaper ad like stars before him won’t solve anything.

It’s time to move on. Banners hang forever.