Kawhi Leonard’s legacy with the Toronto Raptors, in totality, is still the subject of a great deal of debate. Leonard’s tenure in Canada was extraordinarily brief, but his production in that time was so tremendous that it helped lead the franchise to its first and only championship win.
Some Raptors fans have an issue with ranking Leonard among their all-time greats. Is it fair to put a guy who only played one season with the team in the same class as players like Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan who put up a decade of tremendous production for the team?
According to Brooklyn Nets forward Cam Johnson, another guest on the “Run Your Race” podcast, Leonard’s time in Toronto, feeling as it may be, was so iconic that he should be immortalized in bronze (or another precious metal of your choosing) outside Scotiabank Arena.
He really pulled up to Toronto. Didn’t speak, won a chip and dipped,” Johnson said. “That’s legendary. Legends get statues.” What Leonard did in San Antonio was tremendous, but his sole season in Toronto helped him cross the threshold and achieve immortal status.
Cam Johnson believes Kawhi Leonard deserves Toronto Raptors statue.
When the book on NBA history is written, one can’t tell the story of the Raptors without devoting arguably the biggest chapter to Leonard. Between his quiet leadership, excellence on the floor, and clutch play exemplified by his game-winner against the 76ers, Kawhi did everything he was supposed to.
The departure might leave a bad taste in some fan’s mouths. Not only did he break up a very talented Raptors team poised to compete for multiple championships to go back home and join a Clippers team that has gone nowhere fast in the last few years, but it looked like he didn’t entertain even the thought of staying in Canada.
While Lowry should likely be given any and all honors Toronto chooses to bestow upon one of their greats due to his impact, shouldn’t Leonard be right behind him? They don’t hand out those championship rings for free if you know a guy.
With Chris Bosh heading to the Hall of Fame and Lowry’s eventual jersey retirement drawing ever closer, the history of the Raptors is finally starting to be woven into the great tapestry of the league. Leonard’s shot against the 76ers and dominance over Golden State in the Finals would both make for an ideal statue.