The Board Man Got Jokes

Drop the damn mic already, Kawhi.

Jim Rome
June 18, 2019 - 9:42 am
Kawhi Leonard

USA Today


The Toronto Raptors had their championship parade yesterday and it’s kind of hard to describe it. Normally, championship parades are pretty much all the same. Guys having way too much to drink, yelling into microphones, and saying things like “we did this for you!” Or “we’ll see you back here next year!” Toronto’s had some of that.   And it had something else as well.

It was awesome – again…if you have a problem with Marc Gasol dancing and partying on a bus, then that’s a YOU problem, not a Marc Gasol problem. If you have a problem with that, you have a problem with yourself. 

And it was scary – according to police, four people were shot and wounded. Three people were arrested. According to Toronto Police chief Mark Saunders the four people who were shot are not dealing with life-threatening injuries. Others were injured as they tried to flee the area.

So I’m not exactly sure how to square those two things: the awesome and the shooting. I want to play an incredible clip of Kawhi’s speech. I want to quote Fred VanVleet and yet it seems really absurd to do that when there was a shooting.

And I don’t want to be the guy who says, well, shootings happen and it’s just a fact of life. Because that’s crap. Complete and total crap. Shootings don’t just happen and they aren’t a fact of life. People should be allowed to get together and celebrate together without being afraid of being shot.

What I should be talking about today is Gasol dancing like an absolute legend. If you’re watching on CBS Sports Network, I should just have a b-roll loop of Gasol dancing and getting the crowd fired up during the parade, not that they needed to be fired up. But as pumped up as Raptors fans were, they weren’t bringing it the way Marc Gasol was bringing it. You need to match his intensity.

And when I’m done talking about Marc Gasol, I should move on to Serge Ibaka. It wasn’t that long ago that Ibaka was getting crushed in some quarters. His reputation had taken a hit and the thinking was that the game might have changed too much for him to make a serious impact on a regular basis. And yet he came through big, time and time again for this Raptors team.

And after years of work, he finally got to celebrate an NBA title: “When I was young I used to watch this on TV, and I was like, ‘Man, I would love to be there one day.’ And look here, I am now here. I’m just so thankful and I’m living my dream, man.”

And I should be talking about Kyle Lowry rocking a Damon Stoudemire jersey. Or Fred VanVleet just being FVV. Let’s be real, while that celebration was really all about Kawhi Leonard and convincing him to stay, the truth is, they aren’t having that parade without FVV.

They don’t beat the Warriors without FVV and they sure as hell don’t even reach the Finals without FVV going nuclear in the final three games of the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s easy to forget when he’s dropping 22 in the title-winning Game 6, but this is a guy who had 10 points in the first three games against the Bucks. Ten points. Total.

Then his son was born. His life changed. And his game took off. So yes, he deserves a title and he deserves a chance to say this: “You kill us when we lose. You kill us when we got swept two years in a row. So now y’all better celebrate this bleep all summer.”

That is the truth. And yes, you better celebrate this bleep all summer. Because this league changes in a heartbeat. This time last year, they didn’t have Kawhi Leonard. And this time next month, they might not have Kawhi Leonard.

And yesterday was all about Raptor fans continuing to show their love for Kawhi. And trying to convince him to stay. I’m not sure that they’ve gotten to the point where they’ve brought a collection of D-list celebrities and local reporters into a recording studio to drop a fire track like “Please Stay LeBron,” but I guarantee if they thought it would work, they’d do it. 

That is a city and a fanbase that loves Kawhi. And want him to stay. But… if he wants to stay, he is giving absolutely no indication. And if he wants to leave, he’s giving no indication.

Speaking to the media yesterday, he said: “It was a good experience, experiencing mother nature, all four seasons. Man, it was a great experience. Everybody off the court was great. The fans. Just meeting people in Canada.”

Uh, that’s a lot of past tense. There’s a lot of “was” and not a ton of “is” there. Which could mean that he’s leaving. That this is already behind him. Or it could mean that he’s just toying with everyone.

Because one thing is clear from yesterday’s parade – Kawhi is in on the joke. He is most definitely in on the joke. And has been the whole time.

For example, there’s the fact that he was rocking a “Board Man Gets Paid” t-shirt. And then there was the way he ended his speech to the crowd.

That is Kawhi Leonard doing the Kawhi Leonard Laugh. Kawhi doing an impression of Kawhi. It’s like Inception. We’ve come full circle. Run that back again.

Genius. Absolute genius. Board Man gets paid. Board Man gets jokes. A-Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.  Drop the damn mic already, Board Man! The dude on the last team standing got the last laugh.  Literally.  And it was awesome. It was like he hit that shot all over again.