A lot of athletes get famous from playing sports and then get somewhat carried away with all the fame and glory that comes with it. This, however, cannot be said about Kawhi Leonard. The NBA star, who is regarded by many to be one of the best to ever play the sport, is known for his very private lifestyle, his rather curt answers during interviews, and his near-absence on social media. But while he may not be posting selfies and videos he’s taken with his phone on the internet, Leonard has nevertheless proven to the NBA, and the watching world at large, that he is a force to be reckoned with once the ball is in his hands.
A Look At Kawhi Leonard’s NBA Career and the Teams He Has Played For
Since he debuted in the NBA, Kawhi Leonard has played for three different teams, though he has technically been a part of four. The Los Angeles native was selected 15th overall in the 2011 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers. On the same night he achieved his dream of getting into the NBA, he was shipped off to the San Antonio Spurs in a trade that saw the Pacers get NBA player George Hill.
The San Antonio Spurs
Following the conclusion of an NBA lockout, Kawhi Leonard signed a multiyear deal with the San Antonio Spurs in December 2011. In the course of his rookie season, he was made the team’s starting small forward after the previous starter Richard Jefferson was traded away. By the end of the 2011-12 season, Leonard was fourth in Rookie of the Year voting and was named in the 2012 NBA All-Rookie First Team.
In the following season, Leonard proved to be a pivotal part of the Spurs as they went on to reach the 2013 NBA Finals where they were beaten by the Miami Heat in seven games. The following year, the two teams met again in the finals and the Spurs came out as champions. For his performance in the series, Leonard was named NBA Finals MVP, becoming the third-youngest person to win it. He was also named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.
In the 2014-15 season, Kawhi Leonard showed massive improvements in his game despite having suffered a few injuries during the season. At the end of the campaign, he was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year, joining the likes of Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to win both NBA Finals MVP and NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards.
The 2015-16 season saw Leonard re-sign with the Spurs. At this point, he had now become a bonafide star as he earned his first All-Star selection and was named as a starter to the Western Conference team. He became the sixth Spurs player in the history of the franchise to be selected as an All-Star starter. At the end of the season, he received his second Defensive Player of the Year award and finished runner-up to Stephen Curry in MVP voting.
Kawhi ended up spending a total of seven seasons with the San Antonio Spurs before he requested a trade from the Spurs in 2018 after months of tension between him and his team over his rehabilitation from a right quadriceps injury.
The Toronto Raptors
Following his request for a trade, the San Antonio Spurs traded Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors. This proved to be the best business the Toronto-based franchise had conducted in a while despite the risks involved in signing the player that was suffering from an injury.
After a few months, Kawhi was able to get back to form as he got named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games from November 26 – December 2, 2018. The team went on to make the 2019 NBA Playoffs where they saw off the Philadelphia 76ers and the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks to get to the 2019 Finals. In six games, the Raptors were able to beat the Golden State Warriors to become champions, with Kawhi being named NBA Finals MVP for the second time.
The Los Angeles Clippers
After one year with the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard opted to return home and thus signed a three-year contract with the LA Clippers in July 2019. He debuted for the team on October 22 against the Los Angeles Lakers, recording 30 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. In January 2020, he scored a season-high of 43 points in under 29 minutes, with the Clippers winning 128 – 103 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. At the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in February 2020, he was named the NBA All-Star Game MVP.
Here’s How Much Kawhi Leonard is Worth
When Kawhi Leonard joined the Spurs in the 2011-12 season, he earned a salary of $1.7 million. This bumped up to $1.8 million in the 2012-13 season, and $1.9 million in the 2013-14 season, before finally getting up to $3.05 million in the 2014-15 season.
Before the beginning of the 2015-16 season, Kawhi signed a five-year contract worth $90 million. This took his annual salary for the year to $16.4 million. In the 2016-17 season, he took home $17.6 million and then $18.8 million in his last season with the Spurs. The season he played with the Raptors, Leonard earned $23.11 million before going on to sign a three-year deal with the Clippers in 2019 worth $103 million.
With all these figures in tow, Kawhi Leonard’s net worth is estimated to be valued at $40 million. He has made this from his salaries and endorsements, which according to Forbes was worth $5.5 million in 2019; taking his total earnings in that year to $28.7 million. This placed him 70th on the World’s Highest-Paid Athletes List of 2019.
What You Should Know About His Girlfriend, Kishele Shipley
Kishele Shipley is a San Diego, California native who was born on April 10, 1989. Born to parents Kenneth and Cathy Marie, she is the second of three children; all girls. Her sisters are Kenisha and Kassandra. Shipley did all her schooling in San Diego, graduating from the San Diego State University with a bachelor’s in Public Administration. After she earned her degree, she moved with partner Kawhi Leonard to Texas where he played for the San Antonio Spurs.
Kawhi and Kishele have been together since 2014 after originally meeting at San Diego State University. While the two aren’t married, they do have children together. Their first child, daughter Kaliyah, was welcomed into the world in 2016. They welcomed their second child, a son in 2019, but have kept his name private so far.
How Tall is Kawhi Leonard?
Kawhi Leonard is quite a phenomenal player when he’s on the basketball court. With body proportions in the higher percentile, it’s no wonder he’s been named Defensive Player of the Year more than once. The Los Angeles-native is as tall as the average NBA player with a height of 6 feet 7 inches (2.01m). He further weighs a little above the average NBA player at 217 lbs. (98.4kg) as he reportedly weighs about 225 lbs. (102kg).