San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs: Scottie Pippen on Kawhi Leonard’s ‘love for the game’

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SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 13: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs is introduced before the game against the Denver Nuggets on January 13, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 13: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs is introduced before the game against the Denver Nuggets on January 13, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Even while out of action, Kawhi Leonard did not sit with the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 and 2 of the NBA playoffs. This raised even more questions on his future, including from Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen.

Kawhi Leonard’s absence on the sidelines for both San Antonio Spurs playoff games received national attention during the broadcasts. It’s under the bright lights of the postseason, which means more viewers see this and wonder why Leonard will not sit with his teammates, injury or not, while Stephen Curry supported the Golden State Warriors; Curry is out of Round 1 with a knee injury.

Game 3 and 4 will be at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX. If there’s any time for Leonard to appear, it’s on the sidelines at home.

Criticism mounted from not just fans, however, but NBA legends. Scottie Pippen spoke out on The Jump and questioned where Leonard is with a potentially harsh truth (h/t Pounding the Rock):

“I’ve never seen a super star player not want to carry his team.”

“It’s like he’s lost his love for the game”

Saying any player “lost his love for the game” is a tough assessment, and a difficult one for anyone to know outside Leonard himself. Maybe Pippen saw something similar happen in his 17 NBA seasons, but with minimal information on the 26-year old’s status and nothing on his mindset, no one can determine if he does not love basketball anymore.

The first quote carries more weight. It’s curious that Leonard will not sit on the sidelines to support his teammates in the playoffs, unlike the aforementioned Curry. Would a step back for three days (two for games, one for the off day) take away that much from this New York rehab, even if he will not return in the postseason?

Next: Top 25 players in Spurs history

Pieces of this mysterious puzzle remain unsolved. It’s possible the offseason puts everything together, or whenever the postseason ends for the Spurs (as early as Sunday, April 22). Let’s see what else develops.

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