Kawhi Leonard responds to Gregg Popovich: ‘When you stop playing, they forget how you lead’

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Spurs president-coach Gregg Popovich said Kawhi Leonard – who spent his first seven seasons in San Antonio before being traded to the Raptors – wasn’t a leader.

Raptors Republic:

Leonard:

I heard about it. But it’s just funny to me because – 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. But other than that, it doesn’t matter. I’m here with the Raptors. I’m focused on the season and not what’s going on the other side.

Leonard didn’t seem like much of a leader with the Spurs. They had plenty of veterans older and more outspoken than the quiet Leonard.

And the formula worked. In Leonard’s healthy seasons there, San Antonio won 74% of its games, 12 playoff series and the 2014 championship.

Leonard seemed like a great follower. He took direction, worked hard and didn’t cause disruptions (at least until last season).

The problem is how our society frames leading as good and following as bad. Leonard can’t simply say he was a follower, because that’d be perceived as a weakness – even if it were actually a strength.