Meyers Leonard Says He Wanted To Quit Basketball After He Used Antisemitic Slur
Bucks' Meyers Leonard I Considered Quitting Basketball After Using Antisemitic Slur
2/23/2023 1:22 PM PT
Milwaukee Bucks player Meyers Leonard says he sometimes contemplated leaving his basketball career behind amid the fallout from using an antisemitic slur on a video game stream ... but ultimately felt it would be a "coward's way out."
Leonard -- who last played in the NBA in 2021 -- said there were times he wanted to "run away" due to the backlash he faced after the incident ... admitting he made enough money to pack up his things and start a new life elsewhere.
But now that he's back in the league, Leonard is opening up on his experience.
"It’s a mixed bag of emotions, for sure," Leonard told reporters Wednesday. "It’s certainly the hardest two-year stretch I've ever had in my life, as an adult, as a man."
Leonard said being without a team was an "extremely difficult time," and called his use of the slur an "ignorant mistake." He also apologized again to anyone he offended.
As we previously reported, the Milwaukee Bucks signed Leonard to a 10-day contract on Monday, opening up the possibility for the seven-footer to step foot on an NBA court once again.
Meyers -- selected 11th overall in the 2012 NBA draft -- added it's been an uphill battle since his whole life changed, but believes he's put in the work to convince people he's remorseful.
Leonard reaffirmed that he doesn't hate anyone, and said he's thankful for the "amazing relationships" he's forged with people in the Jewish community along the way.
"I spent some quality time with my family, tried to rehab myself, and feel pretty darned good about where I’m at."