News Toronto Raptors share memories of Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green...

Toronto Raptors share memories of Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green for the Los Angeles reunions

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It's always fun for players to face a former teammate – to catch up with an old friend before the game, to recall memories, and then to agree with someone you once fought in practice and with which you now share some memorable moments.

That band and reunions are even more meaningful when one of those memories wins a championship together.

Returning members of last year's title-winning Toronto Raptors team will experience that feeling when they visit Los Angeles this weekend. In a long-awaited back-to-back with the Lakers and Clippers on Sunday and Monday respectively, the Raptors cross paths with Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard for the first time since they helped lead Toronto to the first NBA championship and then moved to L.A. in a free agency in the summer.

Acquired together in the trade that sent DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio the previous off-season, both players left a lasting legacy in Toronto, despite being only one season Raptors.

As reliable as they come, Green appeared in a team-high 80 competition last season and re-established himself as one of the best three-point shots and defenders of the competition.

Leonard followed an excellent regular season with one of the most dominant and iconic playoffs the NBA has ever seen, highlighted by his historic buzzer battle in the series clinching Game 7 against Philadelphia, on his way to his second career Finals MVP award .

But Green and Leonard not only influenced the franchise and its fans, the city and the country; they also touched on the career and life of every individual with whom they shared the experience.

It was clear that each of those players was disappointed when Leonard decided to go home and sign with the Clippers in the summer, with Green agreeing to join the Lakers shortly thereafter, but the relationships that became the last 12 months built up will last a lifetime.

"That will be special, man. Always man," Serge Ibaka TSN told earlier this week. "With the guys with whom you have won a championship, it becomes special, very special. If you look back and see all the photos, it is something special. It costs a team a lot to win a championship. It requires many connections, ups and downs, trust. That's a lot. It doesn't matter if it's just a year. "

"We won a championship [together], so yes," said Kyle Lowry. "It will always be special. I have a special relationship with most of my [former] teammates. I still talk to many boys. It's a brotherhood and we connect, but we will always have that memory of the NBA champions 2019, Kawhi and Danny. "

In anticipation of the upcoming back-to-back in L.A., a number of returning Raptors players were asked to share their memories of what it was like to play with Leonard and Green.


KYLE LOWRY

What will he remember from Leonard?

“How good of a man is he really. How wonderful of a person is he. He's so funny. How he literally taught me and our team how we can stay sober and equanimous. & # 39;

What will he remember from Green?

“I think Danny was excited to get the chance to be here and become a leader again. He learned a lot from [Gregg] Popovich in San Antonio and he took the opportunity to show what he could do. And he is one of the best shooters there is. "

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PASCAL SIAKAM

What will he remember from Leonard?

“I think exactly as he is – his attitude and how he approaches the game. That is something that will always stay with me. I'm an emotional player – when things don't go the way I do, I usually get a little emotional. And just seeing him and how he never got that way and always had the same mentality, that killing mentality, stable game and no real emotions like that, especially when things go bad, that's something I took from him. "

What will he remember from Green?

"He was just a great teammate, man, a guy who is always about team and just a real person and a leader. Having him was absolutely important to us as a man who had won it before. Only his experience was something that we all from him. & # 39;

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SERGE IBAKA

What will he remember from Leonard?

& # 39; Only his personality. It is quite funny, he has a different personality than everyone [different] but at the same time he is a cool guy. Even the way we clicked. It was so easy. The first time he joined the team, it was so easy to connect. I think we just respected each other. Playing against each other and becoming teammates, we just had respect and understanding for each other. "

What will he remember from Green?

& # 39; Danny is a lucky guy. He is just happy no matter what. He is just happy with everyone every day. He comes & # 39; in the morning and he is a lucky guy. Bad game, good game, winning or losing, it will have the same positive energy. That is what makes Danny very special. "

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FRED VANVLEET

What will he remember from Leonard?

“It was my first experience playing with a bona fide superstar, and whatever. Running into the gym every day with the best player in your team's gym is something completely different that you only really know when you play with such a person. It was very nice. There were some challenges. There were many ups and downs during the year. But in general I look back on playing with those two guys as a great experience for our team, of course winning a championship, but personally, for my career, to have that knowledge in the future. "

"It's the ultimate rescue plan for a certain night with a man like that. Sometimes it hurt us because we weren't ready to play sometimes, or because we took teams lightly because we knew we just blamed it on Kawhi could give and avoid, but you need that in the playoffs. He was our ace in the hole when we needed it. "

"Of course he didn't talk much. I think it took him a long time to warm up for us, before he opened himself up and trusted us. On the field – outside the field he was great – but on the field "I think we saw him open up in the course of the year and we trust the whole team. I think he and Kyle had good chemistry fairly early. And you saw it happen gradually for the whole team."

What will he remember from Green?

“That he was so experienced and had been around for so long, but he walks around like a young man. You wouldn't really know, except that it takes him two hours to practice and play – you wouldn't know he was in his thirties. He was wonderful. He was very energetic, happy. He talked a lot, but really only helped boys and gave as much knowledge as you asked. From the day I met him, I asked him questions about everything from plays to the field and everything in between. He was good. He was very helpful to many guys in the team. "

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MARC GASOL

What will he remember from Leonard?

“He speaks when needed. That is a great characteristic of a leader for me. When the team needs it, he has a voice, a voice that everyone listens to. He speaks the right things, cares about the right things. It was amazing."

What will he remember from Green?

“Two different styles. Danny was always more talkative, but also about the right things. Danny was different from Kawhi, but always team-oriented, things he saw we could do better, always positive. I like guys who always think about how we can improve as a team and what things we can do defensively or what hurts us, but always have that positive mindset and approach that never gets people down, but always tries to push them forward bring ."

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OG ANUNOBY

What will he remember from Leonard?

"He's a nice guy. He is cool. He's a good guy. That's it really, apart from the basketball stuff. "

What will he remember from Green?

"The same. He's fun. He's funny."

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NORMAN gaerner

What will he remember from Leonard?

"I don't know, maybe only his daily preparation and how he prepares, how he is well-considered in his approach, well-informed about what he does and why he does it. That is especially what strikes me – how committed he is to take care of himself and to ensure that everything he does is good for him. "

What will he remember from Green?

"I mean, he was great. He was a man who really kept everyone together. If you go through the season, everyone has ups and downs. You try to find the best way to win games. But he kept everyone together with his veteran presence in the dressing room and then outside the court he always brought boys together. If we did something outside the team, he made sure everyone was there. I think he just tied the group together – on and off the field. "

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MALCOLM MILLER

What will he remember from Leonard?

“Certainly his professionalism and the way in which he was very efficient in his work. He got in early, got his job done, got his rehabilitation, got his shots, got a training, got extra rehabilitation, recovery at the end. Only that kind of professionalism and work ethic really struck me. "

What will he remember from Green?

“Danny was just a reliable source for the team – being able to shoot shots, guarding the best player in the team, and just someone who is reliable for the team. He's still a shooter, so I watched his shot and everything on the field. And the promotions and the company that he has out of court are also quite inspiring. Danny was just a good glue boy. He is a centipede. "

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