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Kawhi Gives Toronto a Long Awaited Goodbye

Riley Glenn | posted Thursday, Jul 25th, 2019

“Enjoy this moment, and have fun with it. A-HA. HA. HA. HA.

Those were seemingly the last words Kawhi Leonard had for the people of Toronto, delivered to the crowd of millions who gathered for Toronto’s first championship parade in 26 years. This was of course, a play on his now infamous laugh from his introduction press conference with the Toronto Raptors.

It’s been just over a month since the Raptors championship parade and already so much has changed. The most prominent of these changes being that Kawhi Leonard is no longer a member of the team, after signing a 3 year contract worth over $100 million dollars with the Los Angeles Clippers. Many fans didn’t hold this decision against Kawhi. From the moment he arrived in Toronto, Kawhi made it clear he wanted to play in Los Angeles to be close to his family in San Diego. He was considered by basketball fans and media members alike as a 1-year “rental”, with the sole purpose of bringing a championship to Toronto.

And that’s exactly what he did. And just like the media prophesied, he left after his lone season in the north. The final thing Toronto fans wanted from Kawhi was small in scale, especially when compared to winning an NBA championship: a thank you.

A thank you to the city, the country, the fans who lined up for 30 hours, just to stand outside the arena and watch his team play. The fans who embraced him, regardless of the fact that the cost of bringing Kawhi to Toronto was Demar Derozan, the man who was the face of the franchise for nearly a decade. The fans who offered free meals, condos, and even a Kawhactus to him, in the hope that he would learn to love Toronto like home.

After a month of silence, he finally gave his thank you.

During his introductory press conference with the Los Angeles Clippers, his new team, Kawhi took a moment to address the support he received in Toronto. He took a moment to thank the fans both in Toronto and across Canada, the Raptors organization, the doctors in Toronto who delivered his son (See you on Canada’s national team in 20 years Kawhi jr.), and finally, he thanked all the restaurants who offered him free food during the playoffs.

Now the Raptors turn a new page in their history, one without Kawhi Leonard. Luckily, we’ll always have the 2019 NBA Championship to remember him by.

So thank you, Kawhi.

And you’re welcome.

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