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Doc blown away by Raptors' tribute to Kawhi: 'That's the best I've seen'

theScore logo theScore 2019-12-12 Andrew Joe Potter

(Provided by CityNews)

With the Los Angeles Clippers making their once-a-season pilgrimage to Canada on Wednesday, the Toronto Raptors organization and its fans finally had an opportunity to let former franchise pillar Kawhi Leonard know exactly how they felt about his defection back home to California this summer.

But by all accounts, there was little - if any - animosity toward the "Fun Guy," with all parties showering the 28-year-old Leonard with appreciation for helping the city capture its maiden NBA title. Kawhi Leonard standing in front of a crowd © Mark Blinch / National Basketball Association / Getty

"I can tell you, that ovation, to him, was very heartfelt. There's no doubt about that. And it meant a lot to him," Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said postgame, according to ESPN. "I thought what the Raptors did overall - the video, the players coming out, all of them who played with him (on the 2019 title team) - that's the best that I've seen since I've been in the league.

Also watch: Game Wrap: Leonard gets his ring before beating Raptors (Provided by CBC)


"That's a really classy move by the organization and then by the fans as well."

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Steve Russell / Toronto Star / Getty © Provided by theScore Steve Russell / Toronto Star / Getty

There were several components to the night's pregame celebration. During the PA announcer's introduction of the Clippers' starting lineup, only four players were announced, followed by a lengthy tribute video to Leonard.

Notably, the sequence featured a recreation of Leonard's signature series-winning shot against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

After the tribute, Raptors executives, coaches, and members of the title-winning roster lined up to greet Leonard, culminating with Kyle Lowry, the franchise's current longest-tenured player, presenting his former teammate with his championship ring.

Leonard finished with 23 points, six assists, and five rebounds in 32 minutes as the Clippers cruised to a 112-92 win, capping a warm reception from his one-time NBA home.

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