Portland Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard is among the NBA’s dog-loving players. The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider (subscription required) caught up with Leonard and other players to talk about what having a dog means to them:
“There’s nothing like your dog’s love,” said Meyers Leonard, the Portland center who has a 2-year-old Siberian husky named Koko. “There’s something about it that is really special. They could care less whether you had a bad practice, a bad road trip, one bad game, a bunch of good games. They don’t care. They love you no matter what once you walk through the door. It’s always fun to come home to your dog.”
Fans will remember Leonard’s old dog, Bella, a husky whom he posted of regularly on his Instagram. Sadly, Bella passed away on Christmas in 2017 after a fight with lymphoma. Leonard received a major boost after Blazer fans embraced him following Bella’s passing:
“It definitely meant a lot,” said Leonard, who bought Koko shortly after Bella received her diagnosis in the hopes that the puppy could learn some of Bella’s behaviors. “The city rallied around it for a period of time. When that happened people were definitely very sympathetic toward Elle and I. They knew how much she meant to us. It was really awesome to see that people could understand the connection we had with Bella.”
You can read more from Kosmider’s touching piece, which features several other players, here (subscription to the Athletic required).