MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks have signed Meyers Leonard to a 10-day contract, marking the 7-footer’s return to the NBA after his use of an antisemitic slur while playing a video game two years ago.
The Bucks announced the signing Wednesday. ESPN first reported the Bucks were planning the move.
Leonard hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since January 2021, when he injured his shoulder while playing for the Miami Heat. Two months later, he used a slur while playing a video game online that others watched on a livestream.
The Heat told him to stay away indefinitely and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver fined him $50,000. Miami eventually traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who released him shortly afterward.
Leonard said at the time in a statement posted on social media that he didn’t know the meaning of the word he’d said but added that “my ignorance about its history and how offensive it is to the Jewish community is absolutely not an excuse and I was just wrong.”
“I am now more aware of its meaning and I am committed to properly seeking out people who can help educate me about this type of hate and how we can fight it,” Leonard said at the time.
Leonard has since spoken and worked with several Jewish groups, conducted a number of basketball camps for Jewish children and apologized numerous times for what he said and his ignorance about what the term meant.
Leonard, who turns 31 on Feb. 27, has career averages of 5.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 16 minutes in 447 games with the Portland Trail Blazers and Heat.
Portland selected him with the 11th overall pick in the 2012 draft. Leonard spent seven seasons with the Trail Blazers before coming to Miami in 2019.
His arrival in Milwaukee could help the Bucks deal with their lack of frontcourt depth as two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis recover from injuries.
Antetokounmpo sprained his right wrist last week at Chicago and went to New York on Monday to have it examined. Portis hasn’t played since Jan. 23 due to a sprained medial collateral ligament.
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