Kawhi Leonard is going to the NBA Finals again. This will be his third time and his first leading a team on his own. The 2013 and 2014 teams were led by the Spurs’ big three, but this was all Kawhi.
He recorded an all-time NBA postseason and solidified himself as a top-3 NBA Player of his era. This has hurt many a Spurs fan, who did not want to see the One That Got Away do particularly well.
The truth is, this here Spurs fan is still pretty sports-bitter about the whole thing, but I always knew Kawhi was one of the best players in this league. It makes that 2015 season in which he was kicking the Warrior’s ass on their own home floor feel even more like a lost opportunity.
Kawhi was not even as good then as he is now, as he has had three more seasons of individual work to make him what he is today. He was having an incredible postseason then — one that was cut short by a bad luck injury and took that incredible Spurs team to a shell of itself.
DeMar DeRozan has got to be sick about all of this. His best friend is in the Finals and so he is happy for him, but his adopted team is in the Promised Land and he is looking at them celebrate from afar.
That is what happens when you are dealing with Greatness, however. Kawhi Leonard is great and eventually we will forget about all the other teams that were in the conversations — those Sixers that pushed him to 7 games and forced him to sit and watch as fortune guided the ball into the bucket after 4 bounces.
We remember Shaq and Kobe and forget they needed a 15-point comeback against Portland and a ref-aided(???) 7-game series win over the Kings.
Greatness makes you forget. In this particular case, it will be a little harder to forget.
From this vantage — a Spurs fan who has seen 5 rings — it is a little difficult to get _too_ hurt about it all. This world is full of _actual_ injustice and pain and misery and watching an incredible basketball player do his thing at some other basketball place is the minutest of slights.
If anything it gives us a glimpse of what would have happened had Tim Duncan signed with Orlando.