Kawhi Leonard is quietly averaging 20.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists a game while playing superb defense for the San Antonio Spurs, save for those occasional rough moments against Steph Curry. But come on, nobody in the NBA is impervious to such inevitable victimization.
Off the court it’s been a much different story, though, because there is no story. The Spurs as a whole are notorious for continuously flying under the radar as it is, so there’s really no better place for the reserved Leonard to be than San Antonio, where you can dominate and still fade into the woodwork off the court.
However, in a recent piece by Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, a few interesting stones were unturned, giving us a rare peek into Leonard’s life in street clothes.
For one thing, Leonard, despite signing a $94 million contract extension in October, still drives a 1997 Chevy Tahoe because “it runs and it’s paid off.” Sounds reasonable and sensible, two words one hardly associates with star athletes and the way they typically handle their mountains of cash.
Even better, Leonard once momentarily lost his mind after losing a book of coupons for free wings at Wingstop, a sponsor of his who frequently sends him freebies for his beloved Mango Habanero wings. Thankfully for Kawhi’s wallet, Wingstop happily replenished his coupon supply.
Does this behavior sound familiar? Well it should, because Kawhi Leonard is basically the George Costanza of the NBA. And it’s kind of awesome. Taking this kind of financial approach sure sounds a whole hell of a lot better than being featured on the next installment of the highly depressing 30 for 30, “Broke.”
Some other great, random tidbits from the SI piece:
- Leonard spends his summers in a two-bedroom apartment in San Diego. Jesus, is there anyone more humble and easy to please?
- He said he doesn’t like to “bring attention” to himself and doesn’t like to “make a scene.” In 2016, this is a incredibly rare trait.
- When he was being scouted in high school, he ruled out UCLA and USC because San Diego State recruited him first.
- Gregg Popovich, on his first meeting with Kawhi: “He was as serious as a heart attack.”
You can absolutely hear Pop uttering those words while sporting that signature deadpan of his own.
I can say with ease there isn’t a more appropriate pairing in the entire NBA.