Kawhi Leonard’s absence from the San Antonio Spurs during the latter stages of the 2017-18 season was a source of consternation and mystery. Was he really still hurt? Couldn’t he have tried to play during the playoffs? If he truly wasn’t ready, did he communicate with the team as well as he could? Was he being unfairly targeted?
During a players only meeting in March, his teammates reportedly tried to convince him to return from a lengthy absence because of quadriceps tendinopathy but Leonard maintained he wasn’t able to do so. His absence lingered into April and then to the post-season.
The Spurs were ready, though, if he’d opted in. They even had a brand new playoff jersey ready for him. Now, that unworn shirt is on the auction block.
NBA Auctions is offering the road jersey #2 with Leonard’s name on the back and a MeiGray tag on the front of the tail. The auction tipped off over the weekend and will continue through May 31. Bidding had reached $320 as of Tuesday afternoon.
Leonard is a two-time NBA All-First teamer who won the 2014 Finals MVP award but 2017-18 was nearly a washout for the former San Diego State star. He suffered the quad injury early in the year, then struggled through a shoulder problem. He tried to come back mid-season but still bothered by the quad injury, he didn’t play a game after January 13. Cleared by team doctors, Leonard had sought a second opinion on his own and told the team he wasn’t ready to play during the Spurs’ first round series with the Golden State Warriors.
Leonard was to have worn the jersey during Game 1 of the series, a 113-92 win by the Warriors in Oakland. A Size 54 with six inches extra length, the jersey is registered into the NBA and MeiGray Game-Worn Jersey Authentication Program. Jerseys worn by Spurs players that night are also on the block at Auctions.NBA.com.