Dear Kawhi, here’s a collection of love letters from big-name Torontonians

“Thanks for helping Toronto believe in itself. We’ve got it from here”

Dear Kawhi, here's a collection of love letters from big-name Torontonians
Photo: @raptors

Following a breakup—as with a death—there are supposed to be seven stages of grief, including denial, bargaining, anger, etc. For Torontonians, in the wake of Kawhi Leonard’s departure to Los Angeles, there were only two: acceptance and love. Leonard will take the court tonight in Toronto for the first time since joining the L.A. Clippers, and it’s a testament to his legacy that Raps fans will forgo the emotional turbulence that typically follows a separation, and instead bathe him in affection. After all, Leonard guided the team to its first championship in history and brought Toronto some much-needed bravado—in his own quiet way.

To commemorate Leonard’s return, we asked a bunch of prominent Torontonians to write him a love letter. Here’s what they wrote:

From John Tory, mayor of Toronto

“Thanks for the visit, though it will be a little shorter than the last one. You had a fabulous year here and for that we’ll always welcome you back—even though we’ll never stop cheering for our hometown team. Go Raptors!" 

From Jennifer Whalen, CBC’s Baroness von Sketch Show

“You’re still in our hearts. It’s a joy to watch you play, whatever team you’re on.”

From Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP

“You came, you saw, We The North conquered. Forever grateful for what you did for this city. Any time you want a tour of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, hit me up!"




From Matt Galloway, host of CBC’s The Current

“Thanks for helping Toronto believe in itself. We’ve got it from here.”

From Sam Mizrahi, founder of Mizrahi Developments

“It’s my son Ethan’s 11th birthday. I’m taking him to the game tonight, because you’re his favourite player. Thank you for making Canadian history!"


Sam + Ethan 

From Cameron Bailey, artistic director of TIFF

“You were the biggest star this town has seen in ages, and that’s saying something.”


From Joe Cressy, Spadina-Fort York councillor

“You came, you lifted us up, you united a city, and you helped take us to the basketball mountaintop. I’ll never forget watching Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Scotiabank Arena with my dad. Together, we watched you rise up, take that shot and bounce…bounce…bounce…bounce…bucket. It was electric. You may have gone home to L.A., and nobody can ever resent someone for going home, but know that you’ll always be Toronto’s one and only 'fun guy.’"

From Marci Ien, co-host of The Social

“Thank you for doing your talking on the court, propelling us to new heights and reminding us never to underestimate the heart of a champ.”



From Mohamad Fakih, CEO of Paramount Foods

“Kawhi, you not only brought Toronto together, you brought Canadians together. Regardless of our background, beliefs or values, you united us as a nation. For that, we can’t thank you enough.”



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