Meyers Leonard sat down with Dwight Jaynes of NBC Sports Northwest for a personal interview recently about his time with the Portland Trail Blazers. In the seven-and-a-half minute video, Leonard reflects on his growth during his years with the Blazers, who drafted him in 2012 with the 11th pick.
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An exclusive with @MeyersLeonard: Farewell, Portland
"The Hammer" remembers his time in #ripcity in a raw, emotional interview with @dwightjaynes.https://t.co/RGJKv8rYhy pic.twitter.com/oCQt7eikii
Leonard addresses his purported confidence issues, stating that it wasn’t a confidence problem, but rather an opportunity problem: as someone who wants to compete, getting out on the floor is important. He refused to assign blame when asked about the coaching staff and front office.
He spoke at length about Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals in the interview, reflecting on the experience of receiving cheers and chants instead of boos. Leonard states that he had to dip his head when the crowd began chanting his name as he thought he was going to cry.
Ultimately, Leonard declared that he is “very proud of my time in Portland, “ but that he is looking forward to a new opportunity with the Miami Heat, as “they see me as the player I am today.”
Despite that sentiment, Leonard reveals that he thought he would be in Portland forever. “Something told me in my heart that all throughout my Portland career, I would be a Trail Blazer for my entire career. No matter how much pain or hurt I went through, I almost wanted that to be the case.”
At the end of the interview, Leonard issued a heartfelt thank you for Rip City. We’ll miss you too, Hammer.
You can see the entire interview here.