Kawhi Leonard is an American professional basketball player. He is currently playing for the team, ‘Toronto Raptors,’ of the ‘National Basketball Association.’ He is one of the most valuable players of the ‘NBA.’ Leonard was interested in playing basketball, from his school days. In his senior year in school, he won the title of ‘California Mr. Basketball.’ Leonard started his amateur career with the ‘San Diego State University’ basketball team, ‘Aztecs.’ He gave an exceptional performance, and was selected as the 15th overall pick in the ‘2011 NBA Draft,’ by the ‘Indiana Pacers.’ Later, he was traded to the ‘San Antonio Spurs,’ and remained with the team, for a long time. Leonard was selected to the ‘NBA All-Rookie First Team,’ in the first year of his professional career. He was named as the ‘NBA Finals Most Valuable Player,’ and also won the title of ‘NBA Defensive Player of the Year,’ in two consecutive years. After some tremendous performances, Leonard’s game was shadowed by some injuries. He suffered an injury to his quadriceps, and missed some games. Leonard was traded to ‘Toronto Raptors,’ and is currently playing for the team.
Childhood & Early Life
Kawhi Anthony Leonard was born on June 29, 1991, in Los Angeles, California. Mark Leonard is his father, and Kim Robertson is his mother. Leonard has four elder sisters. The famous football player, Stevie Johnson, is his cousin. In 2008, Leonard’s father was murdered by some unknown assailants, while he was at his car wash centre.
Kawhi Leonard attended the ‘Canyon Springs High School,’ for his early education. Later, he attended the ‘Martin Luther King High School.’ Leonard played for his school basketball team. In his senior year, he averaged 22.6 points, and 13.1 rebounds, and won the title of ‘California Mr. Basketball.’ The website, ‘Rivals.com,’ stated that Leonard was a promising player.
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In 2009, Leonard joined the ‘San Diego State University,’ and started his amateur career in his freshman year. He joined the university basketball team, ‘Aztecs,’ and led them to a 25-9 record, and a win in the ‘Mountain West Conference’ tournament. Leonard won the title of ‘2010 MWC Tournament Most Valuable Player.’
In his sophomore year at the university, Leonard was named to be included in the ‘Second Team All-America.’ He surrendered his two seasons at the university, and entered the ‘2011 NBA Draft.’ He was selected as the 15th overall pick by the ‘Indiana Pacers,’ but was traded to ‘San Antonio Spurs.’ He was selected to play in the ‘2012 Rising Stars Challenge.’ Leonard was named to the ‘2012 NBA All-Rookie First Team,’ and stood in fourth position in the voting for the ‘Rookie of the Year.’
In the 2012-13 season, Leonard was selected to play for the ‘BBVA Rising Stars Challenge.’ He led the ‘Spurs’ to ‘NBA Finals,’ where they played against ‘Miami Heat.’ In the game, Leonard averaged 14.6 points, and 11.1 rebounds.
In 2014, Leonard was selected to the ‘NBA All-Defensive Second Team.’ In the ‘NBA Finals,’ he scored a career-high of 29 points. In 2014, Kawhi Leonard was named as the ‘NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.’ He was the third youngest player to win the title.
In the 2014-15 season, Leonard missed a few games due to an infection to his eye. In January 2015, he returned to give an impressive performance of 20 points and 4 rebounds. In April 2015, Leonard was named as the ‘NBA Defensive Player of the Year.’ He scored a career-high of 32 points, in a win over the ‘Los Angeles Clippers.’
In January 2016, Kawhi Leonard earned his first selection to the ‘All-Star Game.’ He was selected as a starter to the ‘Western Conference’ team. Leonard became the sixth player in the history of ‘San Antonio Spurs,’ to be selected as an ‘All-Star’ starter. In April 2016, he set a new career-high of 33 points, in a win over ‘Toronto Raptors.’ In 2016, Leonard was named as the ‘NBA Defensive Player of the Year,’ for the second consecutive year. He stood runner-up in the voting for the ‘Most Valuable Player,’ standing behind Stephen Curry.
In January 2017, Leonard set a career-high of 38 points, in a loss to ‘Phoenix Suns.’ In the ‘2017 NBA All-Star Game,’ Leonard was named as the starter for the ‘Western Conference’ team. In the season, he again set a new career-high of 41 points, in a win over ‘Cleveland Cavaliers.’ Leonard became the first player from ‘San Antonio Spurs,’ to score at least 30 points, in six straight games. In 2017, he was selected to the ‘All-NBA First Team,’ for the second time in his career.
The 2017-18 season did not see an impressive performance by Kawhi Leonard. He suffered an injury to his right quadriceps, and missed the first 27 games of the season. He made his debut of the season in December 2017. After a few games, he had a partial tear in his left shoulder. Though Leonard returned to the court in January 2018, he was asked to stay away, and continue with his rehabilitation. There were some disagreements between Leonard and ‘Spurs’ team management, regarding the rehabilitation process.
In June 2018, there were reports that Leonard had requested for a trade from the ‘Spurs.’ In July, he was traded to the ‘Toronto Raptors.’ In his debut game for ‘Raptors,’ Leonard scored 24 points, and 12 rebounds. It was a win over ‘Cleveland Cavaliers.’ Leonard is improving his performance, as the season progresses.
Kawhi Leonard is in a relation with Kishele Shipley. The couple had their first child in July 2016. Leonard has kept the details of his child, away from public eyes. He is active on social media platforms such as ‘Twitter.’