Meyers Leonard thought-about quitting basketball after anti-Semitic slur
Earlier than getting a chance to play within the NBA once more, Meyers Leonard was near calling it quits on his profession following his anti-Semitic slur in March 2021.
“However that might have been the coward’s means out, to run away and say I’ve made sufficient cash, I need to go begin my life elsewhere,” Leonard instructed reporters on Wednesday. “I felt like I owed it to anybody who’s ever believed in me, my household, my son, to make this proper.”
Leonard signed a 10-day contract with the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this week, marking his return to basketball after nearly two years, following the immense backlash the middle obtained after utilizing saying “k-ke” whereas taking part in “Name of Responsibility” on a livestream.
Whereas coping with his mistake, and shoulder and ankle accidents, Leonard contemplated leaving his nine-season basketball life behind.
“It’s a blended bag of feelings, for positive,” Leonard mentioned. “It’s definitely the toughest two-year stretch I’ve ever had in my life, as an grownup, as a person.”
He was extraordinarily appreciative of the Bucks to present him the chance to show himself.
“To take an opportunity on me like this, it takes numerous braveness,” Leonard mentioned.
Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer mentioned he felt like Leonard has grown as an individual since 2021 incident made headlines.
“Meyers has been actually, actually diligent and conscientious about participating with the Jewish neighborhood, acknowledging that there’s no place for antisemitism or anti-Semitic slurs or any sort of hate speech,” Budenholzer defined. “The genuineness with how he’s talked to us about it, he’s talked publicly. We really feel like he’s an individual of excessive character that has owned and tried to make this an academic alternative for himself and others.”
During the last two years, Leonard has gone by means of a protracted journey of connecting with the Jewish neighborhood to point out his regret. He apologized to the general public saying “my ignorance about its historical past and the way offensive it’s to the Jewish neighborhood is totally not an excuse and I used to be simply fallacious.” He’s additionally labored with Jewish teams, doing issues like internet hosting basketball camps for Jewish kids.
“I at all times attempt to take a look at life glass half-full, however clearly there have been occasions when it was very, very, very darkish,” Leonard defined whereas getting emotional about how onerous the final two years have been for him.
Regardless of every little thing that’s occurred, he feels that he’s lastly prepared to maneuver on with the subsequent chapter of his life.
“I spent some high quality time with my household, tried to rehab myself, and really feel fairly darned good about the place I’m at.”