Kawhi Leonard left the Toronto Raptors as a complete idol after taking the team to win their first NBA championship ever. Even though he decided to come back home and sign with the Clippers this summer, there is no doubt that the Klaw will be remembered as one of the best, if not the best player who has ever worn a Raptors jersey.
Every Raptors fan has nothing but love for Leonard thanks to all the good things he did for the organization. Furthermore, people have started to claim that they should show their appreciation to the Klaw when he makes his comeback to the Scotiabank Arena next season.
ESPN’s Jalen Rose has taken things further, claiming that the Canadian team must retire Leonard’s jersey on his first night back at Toronto.
During Saturday’s edition of ‘Jalen & Jacoby’, Rose discussed the most important matchups of the upcoming NBA season and dared to predict to things. When he was asked how he believed Toronto is going to receive the 2x NBA Finals MVP, he said:
“With a round of applause, standing ovation, cheering for him every time he gets the ball,” Rose said. “How about this? If I was a member of the Toronto Raptors, here is what I would do. We’ve seen guys getting video tributes that were questionable. The boss move? Retire his number that night…. I would retire his number that day. That’s what should happen.
“…. Here’s what I want you to think about. The Toronto Raptors have not been around for 60 years. They’ve been around for about 25 years. They’d never been to the Finals, they’d never won a championship. The greatest players in franchise history while in their uniform, Vince Carter, DeMar DeRozan. Got to give Biggie a shout, Damon Stoudamire. Tracy McGrady was a young player when he was there, and Chris Bosh.”
“You’re gonna celebrate those guys as the greatest Raptors of all time, Vince, DeMar and Bosh because of their longevity and their productivity, but Kawhi did something unique and special. You give him a standing ovation and you retire his number when he returns.”
There is no doubt that Kawhi did something remarkable with Toronto, and his impact on the team will never be forgotten, but retiring his jersey might be a little extra in the eyes of many fans and the front office.
Nevertheless, we just saw that the Golden State Warriors announced they’re going to retire Kevin Durant’s No. 35 jersey next season, so it might not be crazy for the Raptors if they do the same with Kawhi. His stint was short but extremely successful, just like Durant’s with the Warriors.