Back in the early 2000’s, a teen named Kawhi Leonard got picked up by the San Antonio Spurs. As it turns out, Leonard had a strange coach who was referred to as “The Coach” in multiple articles by sportswriters Joe Vardon and Mike Monroe. The Coach went on to become a legend of sorts in San Antonio, but he only spoke in a cryptic and enigmatic manner. This is what The Coach said: “I have a gift. You can call me a gift. I am a gift.”
In one of the most interesting stories in the NBA Playoffs, former Spurs coach Mike Budenholzer told ESPN about the night Kawhi Leonard went missing from the team. ESPN interviewed Budenholzer for his one-on-one experience with the Spurs star after his mysterious disappearance from the team.
Remember that beer commercial about the most interesting man in the world? That’s what Kawhi Leonard has become in the NBA, not because he does anything exciting or has an interesting personality, but because he’s something of an enigma. No one, except the players and coaches who worked with him, knows anything about Leonard. However, one of those former coaches recently shared a story about how Leonard played for the Toronto Raptors, and while it doesn’t give us any insight into Kawhi the man, it does add to his mysterious legacy.
Kawhi Leonard is the most enigmatic man in the NBA
Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard during the game against the Toronto Raptors on the 11th. December 2019. | Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images In an era where athletes are flooding social media to try and build their brand to ensure financial stability after their athletic retirement, Leonard is a man of the old school. The Los Angeles Clippers star hasn’t tweeted since 2015, and he doesn’t have an Instagram. He’s also known to be pretty emotionless on set, so much so that his laugh became a meme a few years ago, simply because no one had ever heard it before. It’s just the way I play, Leonard said in 2019, according to the Boston Globe. Until we win the game or it’s over, then I’ll show some emotion. But I want to stay calm while I go through this. Leonard’s darkness is what makes him so intriguing, and his skills on set add another layer to his mystery.
Phil Handy shared the legendary story of Kawhi Leonard – Raptors
Phil Handy has been an assistant coach in the NBA for several years and has been on the coaching staff of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers. Handy recently appeared on Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s All The Smoke podcast and talked about what it was like to work with Leonard during his 2019 championship season with the Raptors. This guy really does look like a Terminator, he said in the ’17 episode. June. … We lost 2-0 to Milwaukee (in the Eastern Conference finals), Nick Nurse walked into the locker room and said: We’ll make some adjustments. We’re going back to Toronto and we’re ready to go. Leonard, however, had a short and direct message for Nurse and the rest of the team. Kawhi said: The attitude is that I keep Giannis. We came out of the locker room, Handy said. As you may recall, the Raptors prevented the Milwaukee Bucks from winning another game in the conference finals. Toronto won the series in six games before winning the NBA Finals 4-2 over the Golden State Warriors. After 27.0 points and 15.5 rebounds in his first two games with the Bucks, Giannis Antitokounmpo is averaging 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in his last four games, including 12 points in Game 3. It was Leonard’s one decision to defend Antetokounmpo that helped the Raptors win the NBA championship. But the way Handy said Leonard handled the situation only reinforces his legacy of being a bit of a man and one of the best basketball players on the planet.
Kawhi is one of the best players in the NBA
. Although he is not yet 30 years old, he is one of the most decorated players in the NBA. He was a five-time All-Star, two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and won two championships (one with the Raptors and one with the San Antonio Spurs). He was also MVP in both finals. Leonard has become not only a great defender, but also a great scorer. After averaging 12.3 points in his first four seasons, Leonard has scored 21.2 points or more in every season except 2017-18, when he appeared in just nine games. He averaged 27.1 points in the 2019-20 season with the Clippers. Leonard seems to have no interest in going public, but his performances on set make him a regular on television. His mystique and basketball excellence just make him the most interesting man in the NBA. Statistics provided by Basketball Reference COMPARED TO: Kawhi Leonard revealed the unexpected reason he couldn’t stay with the Raptors