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Basketball Kawhi Leonard thanks Toronto for ‘amazing season’ as he joins the Los Angeles Clippers

Kawhi Leonard speaks during a press conference in Los Angeles on July 24, 2019.

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Former Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard turned the page on his time with Toronto’s NBA team by publicly thanking the organization, the city and the fans for an “amazing season.”

Speaking Wednesday at a news conference introducing Leonard and Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers – Leonard joined the team as a free agent after it acquired George in a trade – the two-way superstar took time to briefly reflect on a season in which he won his second Finals MVP award while leading Toronto to its first NBA title.

“I want to think the Toronto Raptors fans – I don’t have social media so I’m not able to put out a paragraph or whatever,” the famously private Leonard said. “Thanks all of Toronto, the city, the country. It was a great, amazing season.”

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Leonard spent just one season in Toronto after coming north just over a year ago in a trade that sent face of the franchise DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs.

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It became clear this off-season that Leonard, a native of Southern California, made going home a priority. But he raised the profile of the Raptors considerably during his short stay with the team, as evidenced by the championship parade that drew millions to the streets of Toronto.

“Best [championship] parade ever,” he said.

He also thanked doctors in Toronto, where his partner gave birth to their second child, and for the Ka’Wine and Dine initiative at select Toronto restaurants that offered free food for Leonard during the postseason.

“I took advantage of that,” he said with a laugh.

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