After NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard chose not to resign with the Toronto Raptors following the team’s NBA Finals championship in 2019, he traveled west and joined the Los Angeles Clippers to help the team capture its first title in franchise history.
While the team squandered a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals, the Clippers as still poised to return to the playoffs in 2021 as one of the league’s top teams.
Although much is known about Leonard’s skills on the court, here are five intriguing facts you probably don’t know about the former San Diego State small forward.
Lacks Social Media
Unlike the rest of the world, Leonard’s life is void of any social media. Conduct a search for his name on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even TikTok and the results will come up empty.
Leonard simply has no desire to be on any social media platform. Anything he has worth saying, he says on the basketball court for all to see and hear. With all the drama that’s in the NBA, he doesn’t need the added distraction.
Got Paid But Still Drove College Car
While attending San Diego State, Leonard drove a 1997 Chevy Malibu. Immediately after he was selected 15th overall by the Indiana Pacers in the 2011 NBA Draft, he decided he would continue driving his dependable college ride.
While people were poking fun at him for driving such an old car despite having earned a seven-figure salary, Leonard simply responded, “it’s good on gas, it’s a good commuter car.”
The pressure got to him, however, and he eventually purchased a silver Porsche.
Couldn’t Make it to Tryouts
During his freshman year at Canyon Springs High School in California, Leonard was unable to catch a ride to basketball tryouts because his mother was out of town.
He called the team’s coach to explain his situation, but the coach didn’t offer to help. In fact, Leonard missed tryouts completely, and the coach didn’t give him another shot. He had to wait until the following year to play basketball.
Kawhi’s Second Sport
Since he was denied an opportunity to play for the high school team, Leonard turned his attention to the gridiron and joined the school’s football squad.
At six feet, seven inches tall, 230 pounds, and a wingspan of seven feet, three inches, Leonard could have made a solid NFL wide receiver. His hands, which are 52% wider than the average male’s, would have made Odell Beckham Jr.’s one-handed catches look routine.
Leonard is also the cousin of former NFL wide receiver Stevie Johnson.
Serious as a Heart Attack
The first time he met Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs head coach Charles Popovich described the athletic phenom, saying he was as “serious as a heart attack.”
Of course, Coach Pop didn’t mean it as an insult, but rather an assessment of Leonard’s dedication and approach to the sport. Even during his interviews, Leonard gives straight forward answers and only jokes when he’s in the mood.
At seven years old, he allegedly told his pediatrician that he was going to be an NBA player when he got older. As serious as a heart attack, indeed!