For those who watched Miami Heat‘s victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night and didn’t realize Meyers Leonard was on the sidelines cheering the team on during the entire time, you are not alone.
The 28-year-old forward showed up to the arena in Tampa Bay wearing all back, which made his new platinum blonde haircut all the more shocking.
If Miami Heat’s official Twitter and Instagram accounts didn’t tag Leonard in the photo, it would be nearly impossible to tell that it’s the former first-round pick out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Leonard’s new look prompted quite the response on social media. Many people compared him to Eminem from the rapper’s Slim Shady years. His white blonde hairdo was also earned him comparison to the fictional character Ivan Drago from Rocky IV.
The Hammer debuted a new look last night. We're feelin' the blonde @MeyersLeonard! 🤝🔨
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 25, 2021
On Twitter, users online compared him to Justin Bieber, or the character Brendan Fraser portrayed in the movie, Bedazzled.
Leonard Underwent Season-Ending Shoulder Surgery In February
Get well soon, Hammer 🙏 pic.twitter.com/cW7hSvRyby
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) February 2, 2021
Leonard has more time to focus on his hair since undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery on February 2. It’s been an underwhelming year for the power forward who only appeared in three games this season before hurting his shoulder.
I truly do believe that God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. I’m blessed in so many ways and I will come back stronger from this. Thankful for a successful surgery and for everyone’s continued support. 🙏🏼❤️🔨 pic.twitter.com/0GcsHrBW7a
— Meyers Leonard (@MeyersLeonard) February 3, 2021
The surgery was successful, but the injury has put Leonard’s future with the Heat in jeopardy. As it stands, it works in Miami’s favor to keep him on the roster at least through the trade deadline so they can use the disabled player exception — $4.7 million of his $9.4 million salary — on a possible free-agent buyout candidate.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 23, 2021
If the decision was up to Leonard, however, he’d remain in Miami and sign a contract extension with the Heat.
“I really like it here, and that’s sincere,” Leonard said. “The people, their values, what this organization stands for means something to me. So we’ll see what happens. Sure the business at the end of the day is a business. But we’ll see what happens. My wife always says that I live with Disney goggles on.”
Leonard Purchased an $8 Million Home in Miami
In addition to sporting a whole new look, Leonard also purchased an all-new house to call home while he rehabs his shoulder. On February 8, Biz Journals reported that he purchased a new $7.78 million mansion in Miami’s Bay Point neighborhood.
Leonard bought the 6,819-square foot mansion with his wife, Elle Leonard. The new home has seven bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms, a pool, and a dock with a boat lift, as it’s located along a canal leading to the Intracoastal Waterway.
While the mansion sounds perfect for the 7-foot center, the purchase is raising eyebrows since his contract with the Heat has yet to be renewed. Does putting down permanent roots in Miami mean the Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra has privately confided in Leonard that he’s not going to be traded?
Or perhaps, no conversation about his contract option has been discussed. Maybe Leonard just found his dream home and doesn’t mind using it as his off-season abode if the Heat doesn’t renew his option.
Before the injury, Leonard was averaging 3.3 points on 42.9% shooting on three-pointers and 2.3 rebounds during his three-game appearances, the Miami Herald reported.