San Antonio Spurs: Is Kawhi Leonard a superstar? Penny Hardaway disagrees

By Rob Wolkenbrod
SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 9: Kawhi Leonard
SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 9: Kawhi Leonard /

Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs isn’t considered a superstar by one former NBA player.

Kawhi Leonard rose to prominence over the past few years on the San Antonio Spurs, which included his spot in the top-three of the NBA MVP voting. He’s considered one of the best two-way players, depending on who you ask.

This could create the question of, if Leonard is a superstar? It may be an easy answer for some, but for former NBA star Penny Hardaway, he doesn’t feel this is the case.

Hardaway spoke on Sirius XM’s Bottomline about why he doesn’t think Leonard is a superstar. His reason will turn some heads, as Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News posted the quote on Twitter:

I respect the viewpoint… even if you don't agree…respectful thoughts? #Spurs

— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) August 14, 2017

Leonard has been in commercials, but for the Jordan Brand, the company he’s sponsored by. You don’t see him in ads like LeBron Jamrs, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and other superstars are. Does that mean the San Diego State product doesn’t fit in with these players, due to his lack of a spotlight off the court?

Hardaway didn’t factor statistical production into this. Leonard came off a season of 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists with the Spurs, which put him in the MVP voting for the first time. It was nearly career highs across the board, and happened in the first year of the post-Tim Duncan era.

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Does any of this make or break Leonard as a superstar player? The stats are there, but not with the luxurious lifestyle that’s highlighted off the court. Maybe Leonard is the NBA’s quietest superstar, similar to Tim Duncan’s time as one of the top big men in basketball. Is that a positive for his image? Does it damage it? Is there any impact at all?