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July 13, 2020

Kawhi Leonard

Los Angeles, California, USA

Press Conference

Q. I'm just wondering what the NBA hiatus was like for you, and how is your health right now, considering you've had four months off, compared to where it was in March?

KAWHI LEONARD: Has it been four months? I mean, I feel good. You know, was able to work out, get strong and prepare for this moment now that we're in. It's about to be the first practice today, so I'm excited.

Q. I was wondering, what's the process going to be for you ramping up? Nobody has ever been through this before, like a four-month break in the middle of the season. What's it going to be like for you to ramp back up to postseason play and to get your body there to get in that kind of playing shape?

KAWHI LEONARD: I mean, it's just like an off-season pretty much. You usually have three months and then come in for a training camp, have a couple practices, then you've got the preseason games. That's pretty much the mindset. But like everybody knows, you only get eight games to get ready for the postseason. But pretty much just take that same timeline to prepare yourself. Everybody knows their body and knows what they need to do, so I mean, it's going to be my first practice today, so we're going to go out and see how I feel and then just go from there, just keep building off of that. But nobody knows.

Q. I wanted to ask about the significance of this title run and how you think this will be perceived or compared to others. Obviously there's people talking about wanting an asterisk to this season. How do you look at this season and the trials you've got coming up as you guys try to make this championship push?

KAWHI LEONARD: This is just the layout of this year. Just pretty much stay focused. It's not like a regular NBA season. Nobody's life is pretty much how they planned it to be at this point with the pandemic, so I mean, you take it for what it is. Everybody is happy that a championship will be crowned this year, and if that's the 2020 championship, then we want it. You know, that's how I look at it. This is what the layout is, as far as to go out there and complete this journey.

Q. I'm curious, the NBA just announced that two players tested positive, in quarantine, in Orlando, 19 others still haven't made the trip, cases are what they are in Florida. How confident are you in the bubble as a whole, and do you likely do you think it is this works?

KAWHI LEONARD: How confident am I in the bubble, meaning what?

Q. To keep you guys safe.

KAWHI LEONARD: I mean, it's no surprise to me that somebody got it within the bubble. You bring in so many people from different cities and states, and there's no control over it pretty much. But I think we're doing the best that we can. The NBA put together this process, this quarantine, and we're doing everything under the guidelines of testing every day, trying to keep ourselves socially distant from everyone. But who knows, I mean, what's going to happen. All we can do is try to stay optimistic about it and positive, and hopefully we can finish this season.

Q. You said you feel good physically. The mental aspect of staying engaged with basketball, with your teammates throughout the hiatus, what was that like, and how did you guys incorporate that during this time?

KAWHI LEONARD: I mean, other than communication between phone or text, that was pretty easy. When it first started, everybody was pretty much quarantined with their family, didn't want to risk anything, just trying to be responsible. But as things went on and as the NBA started to open up practice facilities and just interaction our engagements with the front office, just took it for what it was, making sure everybody cleaned their hands, be safe, and just tried to control the symptoms from there. Just see if someone has symptoms, and if they did, you've got to stay away, don't try to go to the gym with them. I mean, it was difficult, but I think everybody on their own time was able to focus on themselves and make sure their body and their mind was going to be prepared for this moment here. So that's pretty much what it was. You just had to be selfish from that standpoint and just making sure that you stay healthy and you're protecting your body and getting better.

Q. Doc spoke a lot about how you guys have utilized this time to make a statement of this opportunity and what you can do to talk about Black Lives Matter in this moment. What do you want to see from your team, and how the NBA utilizes the opportunity, and then have you given any thought to what you'll have on the back of your jersey, whether it be your name or a statement for social justice?

KAWHI LEONARD: I mean, for me and my teammates, pretty much everybody -- we're black, so we've been dealing with this situation. We've been giving back to our communities. It's just broadcasting now since everybody has been in quarantine I feel like. So it's a big focal point on that when you're at home watching the news. But I'm just going to continue to do what I've been doing, giving back to my community, educating my community, and just keep going from there.

What's happened, what everybody has been saying on the news, it's been like for me I've been seeing those situations, so it's nothing new to me, and I'm still going to continue to help and educate people as well as my teammates. It doesn't matter if we have a statement on the back of our jersey, it's about doing the work.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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