If anyone has yet to notice, DeMar DeRozan is one of the more media-friendly stars the Spurs have had in a while (at least beyond Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili). As a result, last week he was given the Professional Basketball Writers Association’s 2017-18 Magic Johnson Award trophy, which “honors the player who best combines on-court excellence with cooperation and dignity in dealing with the media and the public.”
Last week, DeMar DeRozan received the Professional Basketball Writers Association's 2017-18 Magic Johnson Award trophy, which honors the player who best combines on-court excellence with cooperation and dignity in dealing with the media and the public. pic.twitter.com/y0XIXOj81f— The PBWA (@ProHoopsWriters) January 7, 2019
Cool! DeRozan is certainly an approachable guy for the media. He talks to them everyday, win or lose, and he’s even willing to share stories about his own battles with depression if it means helping others who struggle with mental health while also being an amazing basketball player, but the story doesn’t end there.
As San Antonio news station KSAT 12 points out, the irony is not lost that on the same week DeRozan received this distinguished award, Kawhi Leonard (a.k.a the player he was traded for) was out blaming the media for the reception he received in his return to San Antonio, saying they stirred the pot and brainwashed us into disliking him.
Kawhi Leonard postgame after #Raptors loss to #Spurs...said fan reception was mostly expected because media stirred controversy, added he didn't see tribute video, but might in the future...Leonard finishes with 21 points in first return to San Antonio #KSATsports #KSATnews #NBA pic.twitter.com/kqLGwHQsDh— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) January 4, 2019
Whatever makes you feel better, Kawhi. I guess it’s something that he wasn’t out to bring the whole Spurs fan base down with him, but the fact he doesn’t realize that —
- The media has almost universally taken his side of the story and blamed the Spurs for failing him and his quad (even to the point they’ll drag their highly respected medical staff through the mud every time a player gets hurt now, as was done with Danny Green and Pau Gasol),
- For the most part the media has eviscerated Spurs fans for their excessive booing and “traitor” chants and has predictably called it a warning sign for other stars who would consider signing here (granted, this was after he made these comments postgame), and
- Leonard played his own role in angering the fan base by not talking, letting his sister control the narrative that nothing was wrong from his point of view while his uncle did the dirty work behind the scenes, and releasing the cheesiest “thank you” note of all time in response to the trade. . .
— it just goes to show how out-of-touch he really is with reality. The media didn’t stir the pot with Spurs fans; Leonard and his “group” did, but of course he isn’t going to say that.
Winning helps, but personally I’m getting happier with the current Spurs by the day, especially DeRozan, and with each passing game “The Summer of Kawhi” becomes an even more distant memory.