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Kawhi Leonard’s Uncle Dennis says ‘lack of trust’ was the reason for breakup with Spurs

Kawhi Leonard, Spurs

Kawhi Leonard has developed into one of the best players in the NBA, but the soft-spoken superstar did not get there without his share of hardships.

Leonard’s backstory is an incredibly sad one. His father was shot to death in 2008, when Leonard was in high school and preparing to take his talents to San Diego State University. In the absence of his father, Leonard’s uncle, Dennis Robertson, became a father figure to Kawhi and has since been one of the foremost influences in his life.

“Uncle Dennis,” as he is now known in NBA circles, was very outspoken during Leonard’s ugly divorce with the San Antonio Spurs. He spoke with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports about the elements that led to Leonard being traded to the Toronto Raptors:

“I think it just became a lack of trust,” Robertson told Yahoo Sports. “They didn’t believe Kawhi couldn’t play and that caused a lack of trust in us and then us not believing in them. Any time a player says he’s not capable of playing, you should believe him. Why would Kawhi just stop playing all of a sudden? He’s a competitor. Sometimes you get these team doctors telling you what you can and cannot do, and Kawhi was just in too much pain to get out there. This was a serious issue. They didn’t believe him, and after that, the relationship couldn’t recover and we decided we had to move on.”

Kawhi Leonard played in just nine games during the 2017-18 season–his last with the Spurs–and there was some question as to whether he had actually been medically cleared to play and chose to sit out.

In any case, Leonard is back in the NBA Finals for the first time since he won his first title with the Spurs in 2014.