Los Angeles Clippers small forward Kawhi Leonard says he is absolutely ready for the NBA season restart as he is fully healthy and aiming to deliver a first championship to his team. Leonard, who led the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA championship last year, also won the NBA Finals MVP award and he entered this season not as fresh as he would have preferred.
The Clippers were cautious with Leonard before the season was suspended but a four-month break has helped the small forward to heal and get back to 100 percent. "Has it been four months?" Leonard said when asked about his health after having four months off, per ESPN.
"I mean, I feel good. You know, was able to work out, get strong and prepare for this moment now that we're in. It's about to be the first practice today, so I'm excited." Leonard intends to treat the next few weeks as a preseason to get ready for the Playoffs.
"You usually have three months and then come in for a training camp, have a couple practices, then you've got the preseason games," Leonard said. "That's pretty much the mindset. But like everybody knows, you only get eight games to get ready for the postseason.
But pretty much just take that same timeline to prepare yourself. "Everybody knows their body and knows what they need to do, so I mean, it's going to be my first practice today, so we're going to go out and see how I feel and then just go from there, just keep building off of that.
But nobody knows."
Leonard vows to continue to give back to his community
While at home, Leonard had a chance to follow how the George Floyd death impacted the growth of the Black Lives Matter as African-American people across the United States are protesting against systemic racism and police brutality.
Leonard says he understands the struggle and he will continue helping his community as much as he can. "I mean, for me and my teammates, pretty much everybody -- we're Black, so we've been dealing with this situation," Leonard said.
"We've been giving back to our communities. It's just broadcasting now since everybody has been in quarantine I feel like. ... But I'm just going to continue to do what I've been doing, giving back to my community, educating my community and just keep going from there.
"What's happened, what everybody has been saying on the news, it's been like [that] for me. I've been seeing those situations, so it's nothing new to me, and I'm still going to continue to help and educate people as well as my teammates. It doesn't matter if we [make] a statement on the back of our jersey; it's about doing the work."