Kawhi Leonard Says Gregg Popovich’s Criticism of Him is “Funny”

Kawhi Leonard with the Spurs. Photo by Austin Mcafee/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

After criticizing his former player Kawhi Leonard for lack of leadership skills, San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich didn’t have to wait long for an answer. Leonard, who now plays for Toronto Raptors, said that he heard about Popovich’s comments and called them “funny.”

I heard about it. It’s just funny to me because, you know, I don’t know if he’s talking about last year or not, but I guess when you stop playing they forget how you lead,” – Leonard told reporters. “Other than that, it doesn’t matter. I’m here with the Raptors. My focus is on the season and not what’s going on the other side.

According to Leonard, he is a leader but shows it in another way.

I lead by example coming into practice every day. Just going hard and coming into these games mentally focused,” – the 27-year-old added.

Although Kawhi Leonard supposed to be the Spurs’ franchise player for years to come, the relationship between him and the organization became fractured after he suffered an injury in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Leonard and Spurs had disputes over the way his injury should be handled, and the player ended up making a trade request in June 2018.

Leonard ended up being traded to Toronto Raptors alongside Danny Green, in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Pöltl and a protected 2019 first round draft pick.

So far in the 2018-19 season, Kawhi Leonard played 15 games for the Raptors, averaging 24.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game.