Raptors’ Nick Nurse found out Kawhi Leonard bolted for Clippers during Las Vegas concert
Still vibing with championship glory, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse found out his talisman player, Kawhi Leonard, would leave his team for the LA Clippers in the most random of places. The guitar-wailing aficionado was taking part on a packed house at the Tropicana in Las Vegas alongside assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren, rocking out to the sounds of Prince impersonator Jason Tenner, who played one of the late pop star’s most famous tunes.
ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan delightfully describes the moment in which Nurse and Bjorkgren knew their dream of keeping the Raptors core together came to a sudden halt.
“The two young coaches, still immersed in their championship stupor, bumped fists, then crooned in unison, “I never want to cause you any sorrow … I never want to cause you any pain … I only wanted to see you laughing … in the purple rain.”
It was too loud to hear their phones as the song hit its crescendo, but both Nurse and Bjorkgren had their cells on vibrate. Instinctively, they reached for their pockets, as manufactured purple haze from the Vegas extravaganza swallowed them.
Nurse looked down. The text message simply read, “I’m going home.””
Nothing spells buzzkill like finding out your meal ticket is leaving town — and it’s simply hard to fathom that Nurse and Bjorkgren, who put all their chips in comforting Leonard and making their best-possible pitch to get him to stay, could enjoy the rest of that concert, no matter how vibrant the scene was in Sin City.