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"Pop didn't let me skip steps"

Kawhi-Leonard-Gregg-Popovich

From not playing at all and making a dramatic trade request that had a large majority of NBA fans criticizing him to champion and Finals MVP. It seems so back in the past we've forgotten how much hate Kawhi had to deal with while the San Antonio drama was going on.

We were in the dark, both Kawhi and the Spurs are not known for transparency. Is it healed or is it chronic? Was he cleared? If so, by his doctors or Spurs doctors? Who is Uncle Dennis? Is the locker room turning on him? There were a lot of questions and almost no answers.

With all that behind, Kawhi and the Spurs have a better relationship than you might think. In his post-game appearance on NBA TV, Kawhi talked about his growth from coming in the league to two-time Finals MVP and Champion, and he didn't forget where it all started and who helped him get there.

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Chip is my guy. He was a great shooting coach. I was in the gym three times a day, doing workouts, lifting. With the team I did have in San Antonio, I wasn't really able to show my talents that early, but Popovich is a great coach, and he didn't let me skip any steps. I took every step the right way.

When you think about the 08 Celtics and the rift between Ray Allen on one side and KG, Rondo and Pierce on the other side - things can get petty and stay petty for a long time.

This shows class, after all the drama Kawhi had with the Spurs and Pop to talk about them in this way, not an hour after winning with Toronto.

Not just a fun guy, but a great guy.

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