Meyers Leonard has signed a 10-day contract with the Milwaukee Bucks
7-footer Meyers Leonard, who has been out of the NBA since March 2021 after uttering an antisemitic slur on a video game livestream before rehabilitating nerve damage on his right leg from surgery, will sign a 10-day contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.
According to sources, the Bucks have been keeping an eye on Leonard’s development for more than a year and held a workout with him last month. Milwaukee wanted to add a big man who could shoot and had played in playoffs before to fill an open roster spot. During his seven seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, Leonard appeared in 28 playoff games.
Since his last game in January 2021 with the Miami Heat, Leonard, 30, has had a long road back to the NBA, including a one-week NBA suspension and a $50,000 fine for the antisemitic slur. Leonard told ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap on “Outside the Lines” last month that he didn’t know the meaning or history of the slur he used.
“There are absolutely no excuses for what happened that day,” Leonard told OTL. “And ignorance, sadly, is a very real thing. I am not running from this, but I did not know that it happened.”
Leonard was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and waived immediately following his suspension. Leonard learned more about antisemitism through frequent meetings with a number of Jewish organizations and counseling from two rabbis in South Florida.
“I felt like I had just destroyed my life and everything that I worked for, to be honest,” Leonard told Schaap. “… People had every right to, I suppose, make assumptions about me. People were going to have to, in the media, comment on this. And I understand, I do.
“I said, ‘You better go handle this and to show people what’s in your heart.’ … I thought that it’d be easier to be dead than it would be to deal with what had just happened, because I want everyone to like me. I don’t hate anybody. I would never intentionally hurt anybody.”
Leonard has played 447 NBA games for the Trail Blazers and Heat, averaging 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Injury also delayed Leonard’s return to the NBA, which included ankle and shoulder rehabilitations that prevented him from signing a contract until earlier this season.
“Since his use of a derogatory and unacceptable term in 2021, Meyers Leonard has been held accountable and has dedicated considerable time and effort to understand the impact of his comment,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said recently. “He has met with numerous leaders in the Jewish community and participated in community programs to educate himself and use his platform to share his learnings with others.”