Fair to say there’s been some hurt feelings between Kawhi and his former coach, Gregg Popovich.
In an earlier comment to the media about Leonard’s lack of leadership, the renowned coaching savant spoke about how even though the star was talented on the court, he never took a leader’s mentality in San Antonio.
Kawhi has since responded, speaking about the subject following the team’s 125-115 win over the Heat.
“It’s just funny to me. I don’t know if he’s talking about last year or not. I guess when you stop playing they forget how you lead… It doesn’t matter. I’m here with the Raptors and I’m focused on the season and not what’s going on on the other side.”
He also noted that his leadership was more than a verbal voice.
“I lead by example. Coming into practice everyday just going hard and coming into these games mentally focused. You can’t see things once you’re playing on the floor – guys ask me questions about their matchup, or if I see something on the floor I’m telling guys ‘go here, go there’. Just motivating people, you know what I mean? I just try to lift people’s spirits on the floor. That’s about it. Just don’t try to get nobody too down and just lift them up.”
Kawhi on Pop’s comments: “It’s just funny to me. I don’t know if he’s talking about last year or not. I guess when you stop playing they forget how you lead… It doesn’t matter. I’m here with the Raptors and I’m focused on the season and not what’s going on on the other side.” https://t.co/rhbJZL7tvA
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) November 26, 2018
There’s been a lot of back-and-forth since Leonard left Texas this past summer.
Questioning his leadership is just the latest on a list of things being said right now. But for Kawhi, it’s something he wants to be sure he gets right.
Leading by example is definitely a good way to start.