home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 13, 2019

Kawhi Leonard

Oakland, California - Postgame 6

Toronto - 114, Golden State - 110

Q. I'm just wondering, when you first got traded to Toronto what went through your mind? Was it one of your preferred destinations and how did your feelings evolve or change during this run and how do you feel now?
KAWHI LEONARD: We all know where my destinations were. But obviously like I said, when I was there on my opening day meeting that I was focused on the now, and I wanted to make history here and that's all did I. I just, I'm still playing basketball no matter what jersey I have on. And the guys here have been making runs in the playoffs before I came, so I know they were a talented team. And I just came in with the right mindset, let's go out and win ball games. I texted Kyle probably a day later -- or the day that I got traded and told him I said let's go out and do something special. I know your best friend left, I know you're mad, but let's make this thing work out. And we are here today.

Q. Wondering what went through your mind when Stephen Curry had that look and whether you thought that the game could be in their hands at that moment. And also your thoughts on when Klay Thompson went down with that injury.
KAWHI LEONARD: Well, first, I'll start with Klay. I hope he's okay. I never want to see a good friend of mine go out like that. I hope he's able to recover from it or it's nothing serious. And when he went down I just really thought about him. I didn't care about the game that much. Once he left, you just, we got to flip our mindset back to trying to beat the Warriors. So that's what I did. With the shot with Steph, it didn't look like it was a good shot. I mean he hits those shots, but I wasn't too worried about it at that moment. Obviously he can make that. He made it millions of times, but I just was focused on the rebound. I've been in situations like that in a Finals that I lost by two or three points, and we lost that game because of rebounds. I forgot who shot the ball, you guys know the story. It was the last two possessions for Miami, they got two chances to shoot threes -- well, four chances at the basket out of two possessions. And that was my fault because I was trying to get the rebound. And once he missed the ball I tried to keep tipping it so some more time could run out. Didn't want to grab it right away so they could foul me. And Draymond ended up waiting with .9 seconds and called a timeout and kept moving from there.

Q. You've been through this roller coaster of a couple years, and now you're sitting with the Finals trophy, the MVP trophy next to you again. Curious, how these couple years have changed you as a man, changed the way you look at faith and kind of your priorities in life.
KAWHI LEONARD: Well, just the year, last year, a lot of people were doubting me. They thought I was either faking an injury or didn't want to play for a team. That was disappointing to go me that that was out in the media, because I love the game of basketball. Like I always say, if we're not playing this game, if we're hurt, I mean you're down. So me just going through that, and I just knew that I would have to make myself happy and no one else. And I have to trust myself. And whatever, it doesn't matter what anybody has to say about me. I know who I am as a person, I know how I feel, and always just trust yourself. And that was my goal and my focus. And that's why one of the things that I take on the floor. I don't care about what the media has to say about me or if they want me to score or whatever, 30 points, because I did the game before, I'm going to come out and play the right way, I'm not trying to make headlines. And that's just things that I pretty much learned just throughout this journey of being in the NBA. So that's how I just keep growing up as a man and that's why I say, I just think about my past life and try to learn from situations and be wise and learn from others.

Q. Along those lines you -- since media day you've said I just want to play basketball. I'm curious, what it was like emotionally to hear that final horn, to know that a year after you had basketball sort of taken away from you that you were able to be on stage with a MVP trophy, to be in the locker room, what did that mean to you?
KAWHI LEONARD: It meant a lot. Like I said, last summer was tough. I was still rehabbing and just trusted the process, really, with myself. I told myself I would be back. I wasn't going to come back until I could be the player I am today. I wanted to come back in the same shape and form without coming out playing five games and then re-injuring something. I wanted to be able to play the season -- or what did I this year. I wasn't able to play 82, but I'm happy that I got to the 60 games. Just being able to win this championship this year is just something special for me because you know how the last year everybody was looking at me, and I stayed true to myself, and I had a great support system. And once I got here to Toronto they understood everything and kept moving from there.

Q. You're obviously known as someone known for their defense. How special was it to receive the MVP award from Bill Russell?
KAWHI LEONARD: That was very special. Obviously I didn't come out in this series trying to win it. It was a whole group collectively. Tonight Fred played amazing in that fourth. Kyle played amazing tonight throughout the whole game. Pascal played big. I just kept striving and pushing and I ended up with the trophy but everybody deserves it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297