After nearly two years spent recovering from injury and atoning for an antisemitism scandal, Meyers Leonard is coming back to the NBA.
The 7-foot veteran has signed a 10-day deal with the Milwaukee Bucks and has a shot to stick with the team through the playoffs, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, senior NBA insider for ESPN.
“Milwaukee had an open roster spot and wanted to bring in a big man with shooting ability and a playoff history. Leonard played 28 playoff games in his seven seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers,” Wojnarowski reported.
Leonard hasn’t played in a game since January 2021 and has been out of the league since March 2021, when he was waived after being suspended and fined by the NBA for using an antisemitic slur during a video game livestream.
After the livestream incident, Leonard committed to building relationships with the Jewish community and learning what it’s like to face faith-related discrimination and hate.
He met with a rabbi in his area, as well as with Holocaust survivors. He also organized a community service event to serve Jewish families, as the Forward reported last year.
In October 2021, Leonard shared on social media that he was thankful for the opportunity to learn about the Jewish community.
“Having the ability to learn about one another is not a form of punishment, it is a gift. Our differences aren’t what divide us, it’s our lack of understanding that does,” he said.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass recently praised Leonard’s willingness to be accountable for his mistake, according to ESPN.
“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,” Bass said.
Leonard has received much more support for his response to getting caught up in an antisemitism scandal than Kyrie Irving, who was suspended earlier this season after promoting an antisemitic film on social media.
Irving initially apologized for the post on Instagram, but he has since deleted that apology, as the Deseret News recently reported.