- ESPN’s Michelle Beadle on Friday ripped Kawhi Leonard following a report that Leonard once hid from San Antonio Spurs executives who came to visit him in New York City during his rehab.
- Beadle criticized Leonard’s decision to remain silent during his fallout with the Spurs and what she said was his lack of leadership qualities.
- Beadle said Leonard has undergone a “heel turn” that has made him “unlikable.”
Kawhi Leonard’s fallout with the San Antonio Spurs continues to get uglier following a report from ESPN’s Michael C. Wright on the “Back to Back” podcast that Leonard once hid from the Spurs when they came to visit him in New York City during his rehab.
On Friday on “Get Up,” the ESPN host Michelle Beadle blasted Leonard’s handling of the situation, saying he has been immature and undergone an unlikable heel turn.
“I’m so over this dude,” Beadle said. “The city of San Antonio is over this dude.”
Beadle criticized Leonard’s decision to remain silent throughout the fallout, as reports have shed light on the rift growing between Leonard and the team.
“What part of Kawhi Leonard’s behavior in the last year – and every story that’s come out in the last several weeks – says anything about this dude having any of the qualities that a leader is supposed to have?” Beadle said.
“You don’t talk. You don’t defend yourself. Now you’ve got stories coming out that you’re coming off as an obnoxious diva.”
Wright said Leonard wasn’t as interested in being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers now that they’ve signed LeBron James, adding that Leonard didn’t want to play “second fiddle” to James. The Lakers had been trying to trade for Leonard to pair a star player with James.
“You don’t want to go play with LeBron because you want to be the top dog?” Beadle said. “You are the top dog for a team and an organization that has done really well for many, many years that you don’t have the respect and you have the audacity to try to ignore, and you continue to cash those $18 million checks?”
She added: “You can go as soon as they get whatever they want for you. But if you think you’re just going to walk out of there and get your way because you’ve thrown this little spoiled hissy fit and become one of the most unlikable characters – I’ve never seen a heel turn like this in a way that is not enjoyable.”
At the heart of the issue was a disagreement between Leonard and the Spurs about Leonard’s quad injury and how to rehabilitate it. That eventually led to Leonard getting a second opinion, reportedly against the Spurs’ wishes, and turning to his own team of handlers and advisers, souring the relationship. The Spurs eventually cleared Leonard to play, but Leonard sat out, feeling he wasn’t ready to return the court. The differences in opinion and communication only created a wider gulf.
“Like, you are no longer a person I root for,” Beadle said of Leonard. “You are someone who has just shown every quality of a spoiled, entitled person, and you don’t even have the strength to speak for yourself. Like, what are you doing with your career?”
You can watch the entire segment below: