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The Shocking Truth About Kawhi Leonard's Life | UNTOLD

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Mar 09, 2019

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The Shocking Truth About Kawhi Leonard's Life | UNTOLD
The Shocking Truth About Kawhi Leonard's Life | UNTOLD thumb The Shocking Truth About Kawhi Leonard's Life | UNTOLD thumb The Shocking Truth About Kawhi Leonard's Life | UNTOLD thumb

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  • Growing up as kids, many current NBA players recall the days of their youth where they
  • visualized themselves getting drafted to the league.
  • For some it was a dream come true and for others it was a lost fantasy that vanished
  • never to return.
  • But in both of these instances there was a common goal.
  • The objective within everyone’s eyes was to be the one to finally make it.
  • NBA player Kawhi Leonard is the one who made it.
  • Although he is now a superstar, many fans are not aware of the challenges he has faced
  • to get to where he is today.
  • To truly understand Kawhi Leonard we must first understand where he came from.
  • In today’s video we take a trip into the past to explore the rough journey that led
  • to Kawhi Leonard becoming an NBA superstar.
  • Welcome to NBA Insider!
  • Hard working.
  • Determined.
  • Humble.
  • A man who is seen as one of the best in the NBA.
  • Just who is Kawhi Leonard?
  • Born in Riverside, California on June 29th 1991, to divorced parents, Mark Leonard and
  • Kim Robertson, Kawhi Anthony Leonard grew up living with his mom.
  • As the youngest child in a family that included the likes of 4 older four sisters, all of
  • whom he was extremely close with, he was brought up in an dangerous environment.
  • At the time of his birth, with a total of 2,589 murders in 1991, including 517 homicides
  • in July and August alone, the city of Los Angeles as a whole was ranked one of the most
  • crime-ridden cities in the United States.
  • Due to this negative exposure from a young age, Kawhi became visible to the damaging
  • influences and harsh realities associated with the streets including drugs, gangs and
  • prostitution.
  • Luckily for him he had sports to help steer him away.
  • Despite this, what many people might not believe was that it was actually the sport of football
  • that first helped keep him busy during his adolescent years.
  • Kawhi first indulged in the game playing as a wide receiver.
  • However, due to his hate for knee pads and attending practices, his love for the sport
  • would slowly fade.
  • It wasn’t until his sophomore year in high school that he finally decided to quit playing
  • football for good.
  • However, Leonard’s father was not to fond of his decision.
  • You see, Mark Leonard was not just his dad, but also his best friend and role model.
  • He helped develop Kawhis game both in football and basketball.
  • Together the two would lift weights, play catch, do sprints and attend nearly all of
  • his games.
  • In fact, since the time the two spent together was limited, due to his parents’ divorce,
  • the duo would spend most of Leonard’s childhood at his father’s popular car wash located
  • in Compton.
  • It was here where Leonard would spend countless summer days learning the importance of an
  • honest day’s work.
  • Following a long day of washing and detailing dozens of cars, they would go out and play
  • some more football.
  • So when Kawhis father, a big football fan himself, found out his son was leaving the
  • sport he thought he loved to pursue basketball, it really hurt.
  • Regardless, after learning that Kawhi's heart was more on the court than the field, Mark
  • supported his decision.
  • After all, Kawhis love for the game was there from the start.
  • As a child Leonard dreamed of becoming one of the greats in basketball history after
  • watching Michael Jordan’s 1988 documentary “Come Fly
  • With Me.”
  • As a matter of fact, if it wasn’t for the circumstance that he had missed tryouts for
  • the Canyon Spring High’s Freshman basketball team in Moreno Valley, chances are he would
  • have begun playing a year earlier in ninth grade.
  • You see, Leonard’s mom, Kim Robertson, had to work out of town during his basketball
  • tryouts, leaving Kawhi without a ride.
  • Due to this he would go on to miss the session which resulted in him losing a spot on the
  • team.
  • Although Kawhi attempted to email his coach informing him about the situation, the coaching
  • staff still refused to accept him.
  • So with no remaining option, and just in his freshman year, he decided to play football
  • instead.
  • The following year he would once again try out and successfully make it as a 6'6" 190
  • lbs sophomore playing for the Canyon Spring Cougars.
  • Eventually, Leonard found an AAU coach and mentor named Marvin Lea, a man who not only
  • accepted Kawhi as a person but who saw a lot of potential in him as a young star.
  • With a new found love for the game, Kawhi decided to transfer to Riverside’s Martin
  • Luther King High School to train alongside his new coach.
  • It was here where as a senior he and fellow NBA player, Tony Snell, would help lead the
  • King High Wolves to a 30 and 3 record.
  • Then, in 2009, while using his hand size as a pivotal role in his success, Kawhi quickly
  • developed into an outstanding player averaging 22.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and
  • 3.0 blocks per game.
  • He would also go on to be listed as the number 8 small forward and the number 48 player in
  • the nation while being named as Mr. Basketball for California.
  • Despite his wonderful achievements on the court, it was also around this time that the
  • 16-year old would come across one of the darkest periods in his life.
  • You see, on Friday January 18th, 2008, just 24 hours before an upcoming game, his father,
  • Forty-three-year-old Mark Leonard, was shot to death.
  • On this tragic day, Mark was closing up his car wash when several men approached him and
  • an argument took place.
  • During the quarrel, one of the suspects pointed a gun and shot more than 30 shots with ten
  • hitting the elder Leonard.
  • Mark Leonard was taken to a hospital, where he was unfortunately pronounced dead.
  • Like many killings in the notorious Southern California city, the murder of Kawhi's father
  • seemed senseless.
  • To this day there has been no arrest and no motive for the shooting.
  • Regardless, what was supposed to be a routine drive home from practice turned out to be
  • an unforgettably tragic moment.
  • After he had received the devastating news from his sister, Leonard was completely shattered
  • considering he had spoken to his father just hours before.
  • The next night, the 6-foot-7 junior managed to score 17 points for the Kings in a 68-60
  • loss, before letting out all of his emotions, crying into his mother's shoulder.
  • He didn't want to believe it.
  • Not only had he lost his biggest fan and role model — but he lost his best friend whom
  • he talked on the phone with every single night.
  • The carwash, once filled with everlasting happiness and fond childhood memories, was
  • now filled with emotional scars.
  • His father, mentor and best friend … was gone.
  • With his father’s death in mind, Kawhi Leonard knew he had to push forward.
  • In the midst of the tragedy, Leonard turned to basketball as his distraction and mission.
  • He had every reason to put all his energy and focus towards the main goal that both
  • him and Mark strived for.
  • To make it to the NBA.
  • With a new motivation to make his father proud, Leonard put in extended hours at the gym.
  • At first he would leave his house at 5 a.m. every morning to work out before his college
  • classes.
  • Following this he would spend his after school hours hustling back and forth among three
  • different gyms.
  • Then he would run drills on any open court, including local LA finesses, where he lifted
  • weights and trained for as long as the lights stayed on.
  • Since he was already aware of his natural abilities as a ferocious rebounder and defender,
  • he decided to instead improve upon his offensive game which included refining his shooting
  • touch.
  • Entering his senior year, after months of on-going training, Kawhis hard work would
  • finally pay off as he clawed his way into becoming a 4-star recruit.
  • Eventually he began receiving offers from schools such as UCLA, USC and Michigan.
  • However, after graduating in 2009, Leonard decided to accept a scholarship from San Diego
  • State, thinking he would have a better opportunity to play.
  • It was here where he led the Aztecs in scoring and rebounding earning a two-time first team
  • selection and a reputation as a defender with a high basketball IQ and relentless hustle.
  • In his freshman season Leonard averaged 12.7 points and 9.9 rebounds followed by 15.5 points
  • and 10.6 rebounds as a sophomore, all while helping drive San Diego State to the Sweet
  • Sixteen.
  • By this time NBA general managers were buzzing over the prospect with the freakish wingspan,
  • high leaping ability and a uniquely quiet demeanor.
  • So when he began hearing reports that he was a first-round lock, Leonard, barely twenty
  • years old, declared himself eligible for the 2011 NBA Draft.
  • In the 1st round, with the 15th overall pick, the Indiana Pacers selected the forward.
  • However, just five minutes after shaking hands with NBA commissioner David Stern in a Pacers
  • hat, Leonard would be traded to the San Antonio Spurs along with the rights to European players
  • Erazem Lorbek and Davis Bertans in exchange for George Hill.
  • Then on December 10, 2011, following the conclusion of the NBA lockout, Kawhi Leonard would go
  • on to sign a multi-year deal with the franchise.
  • In his first season with the San Antonio Spurs Leonard swiftly emerged into one of the most
  • promising and dominant two-way players in the league.
  • Aside from that, playing alongside veterans such as Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili
  • proved to be a seamless fit for Leonard.
  • That same season he placed fourth in Rookie of the Year voting and would go on to be named
  • to the 2012 NBA All-Rookie First Team.
  • It was clear from the start that this was an overall good investment for Gregg Popovich
  • and the Spurs.
  • After all, Kawhi was always a hustle and defense player in college.
  • It made sense especially when considering the fact that although Leonard stood at 6-foot-7,
  • his wingspan was listed at 7-foot-3.
  • Aside from this, his hand measured in at 11.25 inches across from thumb to pinkie and 9.75
  • inches long, a staggering 52 percent wider than the average man’s hand.
  • With a wingspan so long and with hands so huge that he could cover the ball with one
  • hand,, Leonard translated the same game he had in college to the NBA floor.
  • He put his natural gifts to good use on the floor, grabbing rebounds, defending the other
  • team’s best player, and always playing to win.
  • Entering the league, he had demonstrated his maturity on the court as he made key contributions
  • to the Spurs, helping them reach the NBA Finals in just his second season, despite the Spurs
  • suffering a defeat to the Miami Heat in seven games.
  • On June 15th, 2014, in a Finals rematch with the Heat just a year later, the Spurs would
  • go on to defeat Miami in five games, completing a dominant comeback from a 2013 heartbreak.
  • Behind his 17.8 points on 61 percent shooting and 6.4 rebounds per game, Leonard would go
  • on to lead the Spurs to their fifth NBA championship.
  • With stellar defence on Miami’s LeBron James — it became clear to everyone that it was
  • here where Leonard shifted his talents from NBA star to superstar.
  • At just 22 years old, the former San Diego State became the third-youngest player to
  • ever win the NBA Finals MVP award and the youngest player to win the finals MVP trophy
  • since Magic Johnson in 1980.
  • In the end however, what really made Leonard's achievement truly special was the fact that
  • he received it on Father’s Day.
  • And while Kawhi has since held a reputation in the NBA as an emotionless assassin, on
  • this day, the forward had plenty feelings to go around.
  • It's no wonder that after his exceptional performance, the 6-foot-7 forward continuously
  • labeled the moment as "surreal" on a day all sons would find it hard not to think of their
  • dads.
  • In honor of his father, Kawhi Leonard now has a tattoo on his right arm, a tombstone
  • with an "R.I.P.
  • Dad" inscription with angel's wings sprouting from each side.
  • A suitable way to keep his father’s memory indeed.
  • Overall, as silent and discreet as he is off the NBA floor, Kawhi Leonard is thought of
  • as one of the most mysterious and unemotional players in the whole league.
  • But make no mistake, his play on the court is anything but.
  • It’s true Kawhi Leonard has a quiet and humble demeanor, keeps a low-key profile and
  • doesn’t seem interested in the fame or money that comes along with being a professional
  • basketball player.
  • All he wants to do is get better and work harder, even if he has the spotlight.
  • After all, he is the kid who locked himself in his room on his birthdays.
  • He is the teenager who brought two lamps from home for his early-morning workouts because
  • the school wouldn't turn on the lights.
  • He is the NBA superstar who still drives a 1997 Chevy Tahoe, the same car he had since
  • high school.
  • He is the prospect who spent the night of the 2012 NBA draft at the Spurs practice facility.
  • And today, he is a professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors.
  • But most importantly, in the end, he … is Kawhi Leonard.
  • In the end these are just some of the behind the scenes of the NBA that many people don't
  • know about.
  • When you put aside the multi-million dollar contracts, exciting careers and lavish lifestyles
  • that many NBA stars enjoy, there is a lot to learn about some of our favorite players.
  • On a more personal level the NBA is more than just basketball.
  • It's a place where friendships are made, accomplishments are appreciated and sadly deaths are mourned.
  • Luckily for us it is also thanks to amazing people such as Mark Leonard that we get to
  • appreciate outstanding individuals such as Kawhi Leonard.
  • Years after his dad's murder, Kawhi still believes that his father is happy on his decision
  • to pursue a career in basketball.
  • With a Finals MVP trophy and a bright NBA future ahead, there's no doubt he would be.

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The Shocking Truth About Kawhi Leonard's Life | UNTOLD

Growing up as kids, many current NBA players recall the days of their youth where they visualized themselves getting drafted to the league. For some it was a dream come true and for others it was a lost fantasy that vanished never to return.

But in both of these instances there was a common goal. The objective within everyone’s eyes was to be the one to finally make it. NBA player Kawhi Leonard is the one who made it. Although he is now a superstar, many fans are not aware of the challenges he has faced to get to where he is today.

To truly understand Kawhi Leonard we must first understand where he came from. In today’s video we take a trip into the past to explore the rough journey that led to Kawhi Leonard becoming an NBA superstar. This is The Shocking Truth Behind Kawhi Leonard's NBA Career!

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