Kawhi Leonard has been in the NBA for five seasons. In that short span of time he has learned what it means to be a champion in the biggest stage in the world, but that wasn’t by pure luck.
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At the age of 25 he is showing monumental improvement in his game, maturity in his approach to his craft, and should things never change he will be an Hall of Famer by the time he retires.
That may sound far away right now, but he is on track to being a great player in this league. Having already won two defensive player of the year awards for his relentless defense and ball hounding, he has not only established himself on the defensive side of the ball, but on the offensive side also.
Leonard has become a two way star in the NBA, and with the dynamic of the San Antonio Spurs roster changes, it couldn’t have happened at a better time..
The most exciting part about this short story is that Leonard has so much more time to write the rest of his career. He has the opportunity to join the same platform as other Spurs greats like David Robinson, Tim Duncan, and George Gervin who are all first-ballot Hall of Fame players.
Dec 23, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives to the basket against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the fourth quarter at Target Center. The Spurs win 108-83. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
For the time being, Leonard works while he keeps his head down. He sets goals for himself, but he is not flamboyant and boastful about his accomplishments. His never satisfied attitude is the reason he always maintains he still has more work to do. That is his character, and he is in perfect position to maximize his full potential if he wants it bad enough.
The hard work thus far is already paying off, even in smaller beginnings. He is already an NBA champion and an NBA All-Star. Those were well deserved honors, but he is ready to add another one to his mantle.
San Diego State will be inducting him into the University’s Aztec Hall of Fame this fall.
After spending two seasons with the Aztecs playing under coach Steve Fisher, his sacrifices were not forgotten.
Leonard led the team in scoring averaging 12.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals in his Freshman season. The Aztecs rose to the number 11 seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, making it their first appearance since 2006. Leonard was also awarded with the Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors.
The very next year the team won a total of 34 games, and qualified for the sweet sixteen tournament before being eliminated by the eventual champs, the UConn Huskies. Leonard improved averaging 15.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 1.4 steals, earning his second All American honors.
If anyone knows the benefits of hard work, it is Leonard. He understands what it takes to improve, and he never fails to reap the benefits of working to get better.
San Diego State will officially honor Leonard this fall on October 21, 2016.