Kawhi Leonard Biography Facts, Childhood And Personal Life

Kawhi Leonard Biography Facts, Childhood And Personal Life
Kawhi Leonard with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2019. (Image credit: USA Today Images)

Kawhi Leonard, popularly known by his nickname ‘The Klaw’ is an American professional basketball player. His name is one that every fan of the NBA reckons with. The antics and unique style of play of this great sportsman speak of the exceptional basketball prowess and agility he possesses. Leonard now plays in the NBA for Los Angeles Clippers. We take a look at the life of Kawhi Leonard from the moment he was born to becoming the celebrated sportsman he is in our special Kawhi Leonard Biography facts, childhood and personal life. Highlights include his NBA/Basketball career, achievements and awards, famous quotes plus other on-screen and off-screen facts about his life.

Kawhi Leonard Biography Facts, Nickname, Education, Parents, Siblings, Wife/Girlfriend, Children, Zodiac Sign

Full Name:Kawhi Anthony Leonard
Nickname:The Klaw
Born:June 29, 1991 (age 29 years)
Place of Birth:Los Angeles, California United States of America
Occupation:Basketball Player
Current Team:Los Angeles Clippers
Position:Small forward / Shooting guard
Jersey Number:#2
Playing Career:2011–present
Net Worth:$40 million
Height:6 feet, 7 inches
Shoe Size:14
Weight:230 lbs (104 kg)
Education:Canyon Springs High School; Martin Luther King High School; San Diego State University
Parents:Mark Leonard (father); Kim Leonard (mother)
Siblings:Miesha Slayton (sister); Kimesha Monae Williams (sister)
Partner:Kishele Shipley (girlfriend)
Children:Kaliyah Leonard (daughter)
Zodiac Sign:Cancer

Kawhi Leonard Childhood and Early Life

Kawhi Leonard Childhood Photo
Kawhi Leonard Childhood Photo. (Image: San Antonio Express-News)

Kawhi Leonard was born on June 29, 1991, in Los Angeles, California, wherein he was raised. He is the last of five kids born to Mark Leonard (father) and Kim Leonard (mother). He has four elder sisters. His father was murdered in 2008 at the Compton car wash he owned.

Kawhi Leonard Professional Basketball Career

High School Career

Before Kawhi Leonard was transferred to Martin Luther King High School in his junior year, he attended Canyon Springs High School. While he was in his senior year, Leonard led the King High Wolves to a record 30-3 alongside Tony Shell. After putting up an amazing performance he was named California Mr Basketball, He was deemed a 4-star recruit by Rivals.com and in 2009, he was also listed as number 48 player in the entire nation as well as number 8 small forward.

College Career

During his freshman year at San Diego State University in the 2009-2010 season, Leonard led the Aztecs to a record of 25-9 as well as the Mountain West Conference. The San Diego State University earned an automatic entry to the NCAA tournament but were defeated in the very first round by the University of Tennessee. Leonard had an impressive performance as he recorded 12 points with 10 rebounds in the match which saw him lead the Mountain West Conference (MWC) in rebounds and was dubbed first-team All-MWC, MWC freshman of the year, and the 2010 MWC tournament MVP.

Kawhi Leonard in action for the San Diego State
Kawhi Leonard playing for the San Diego State. (Image: Zimbio)

During his sophomore season, the Aztecs won a consecutive conference championship. San Diego University entered the NCAA tournament again, where they progressed to the round of 16 before being knocked out of the championship the Connecticut Huskies who progressed to claim the championship. Leonard made the Second Team-All American and forfeited his last two seasons at the San Diego State to join the NBA draft in 2011.

Professional/NBA Career & Teams

San Antonio Spurs (2011–2018)

Kawhi Leonard playing for San Antonio Spurs
Kawhi Leonard in action for San Antonio Spurs. (Image: Sportscasting)

Kawhi was the 15th overall pick by the Indiana Pacers in the 2011 NBA draft but was later traded to the San Antonio Spurs. His début season saw him selected to take part in the 2012 Rising challenge and coming fourth in the votes for Rookie of the Year. Kawhi also made the 2012 All-Rookie NBA First team. In his second season, the Spurs made it to the NBA Final, but the Miami Heats denied Kawhi and the San Antonio Spurs the championship glory. However, the next season, the San Antonio Spurs made it once again to the Finals, facing rivals, the Miami Heat. Kawhi led the San Antonio Spurs in defeating the Miami Heats. Kawhi was awarded the MVP award after averaging 17.8 points with a 61% shooting rate.

Leonard presented with the NBA Finals MVP
Leonard presented with the NBA Finals MVP, 2014—Joining the ranks of Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan as the only players to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year as well as NBA Finals MVP. Photo credit: NBA.com

Though Kawhi was battling with a blurry vision he continued to play in the 2014-2015 season but was ruled out indefinitely after having injections on his right hand. He returned to play 15 games later. At the end of the season, he was awarded the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. Kawhi signed a five-year contract extension with the Spurs in the 2016-2017 season. He led them on a successful campaign which earned him the Defensive Player of the Year award for a second consecutive time and his first All-Star selection. He secured his second NBA First-Team selection and All-Defensive First Team selection for the third time in the 2016-2017 season. 2017-2018 was a season plagued with injuries for Kawhi. He also was involved in disputes the Spurs management over his rehabilitation. Kawhi did not grace the court for notable periods.

Toronto Raptors (2018–2019)

Kawhi Leonard playing for Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard playing for Toronto Raptors in 2018. (Image: The Star)

There were reports claiming that Leonard requested a trade from the Spurs in June 2018. This reports came after months of tensions between Leonard and the Spurs over his Injury rehabilitation. On July 18, Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors, alongside his teammate Danny Green in exchange for Jakob Poltl, DeMar DeRozan, and a safeguarded 2019 first-round draft pick.

Leonard’s first season with the Raptor was a successful one. Leonard received Player of the Week honours in December as well helped the Raptors to their first NBA finals. At the NBA finals, Leonard proved his worth as an A-rated basketball player, helping the Toronto Raptors defeat the Golden State Warriors in a 4-2 series win, leading to their very first championship. Leonard registered 732 points in the NBA playoff which catapulted him to the third spot in the total number of points registered in a single NBA postseason in the history of the league, surpassing Hakeem Olajuwon and Allen Iverson to achieve the feat. Leonard progressed to be named NBA Finals MVP for the second time in his career.

Kawhi Leonard is the 2019 NBA MVP
Kawhi Leonard receiving his 2019 NBA MVP award. (Image: sportskeeda)
Kawhi Leonard of Toronto Raptors, 2019 NBA Champions
Kawhi Leonard (Small forward) of Toronto Raptors celebrating after they defeated Golden State Warriors to win the 2019 NBA Championship. (Image: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty)

Los Angeles Clippers (2019–date)

On the 10th of July 2019, Kawhi Leonard moved to the LA Clippers.

Kawhi Leonard Net Worth, Salary, Endorsements & Sponsorships

Leonard’s net worth in 2019 is currently estimated at $40 million USD. His net worth is boosted by his investments and endorsement deals. His salary as of 2019 is $32.74 million USD. Leonard has a sponsorship deal with New Balance with endorsements valued at $5.5 million.

Kawhi Leonard Family and Personal Life

  • Leonard is the youngest of 5 children born to his parents—Mark Leonard and Kim Leonard and has four senior sisters.
  • His father was killed in his Compton car wash which he owned. His murderer is yet to be found.
  • Stevie Johnson (wide receiver) in the American Football, is Leonard’s cousin.
  • In July 2016, Kishele Shipley (Leonard’s girlfriend) gave birth to their daughter, Kaliyah Leonard who happens to be their first child.
  • In March 2019, Shipley reportedly gave birth to their second child, a son. Kawhi Leonard, however, has not commented on this in recent interviews.
Kawhi Leonard and Kishele Shipley
Kawhi Leonard and his girlfriend, Kishele Shipley. (Image: @frontpagebuzz via Twitter)
  • Leonard signed an endorsement deal with multinational sports footwear makes New Balance.
  • Leonard was dragged by sports accessories makers, Nike, to court over the use of his ‘Klaw’ logo without his authorisation.
  • Leonard is known for his reserved personality. He had expressed his dislike for the media. He has tried to distance himself from fame, preferring to live a private life. This is one major reason for his absence on social media.
  • On September 7, 2019, Leonard’s sister, Kimesha Monae Williams, 35, was charged for robbing and murdering a woman (84-year-old) at a casino in Southern California, according to the Press-Enterprise.

Kawhi Leonard Achievements & Awards

  1. NBA champion (2014, 2019)
  2. NBA Finals MVP (2014, 2019)
  3. NBA All-Star (2016, 2017, 2019, 2020)
  4. All-NBA First Team (2016, 2017)
  5. All-NBA Second Team (2019)
  6. NBA Defensive Player of the Year (2015, 2016)
  7. NBA All-Defensive First Team (2015–2017)
  8. NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2014, 2019)
  9. NBA All-Rookie First Team (2012)
  10. NBA steals leader (2015)
  11. Consensus second-team All-American (2011)
  12. First-team All-MWC (2010, 2011)
  13. California Mr Basketball (2009)

Kawhi Leonard Quotes

“I just want to keep improving, to keep getting better.”

— Kawhi Leonard

“I’m always trying to come down with a win. That’s what matters to me and my squads.”

— Kawhi Leonard

“Coming in, I wanted to be a great player, and right now at the beginning of my career, I’m showing some slight sunshine that I can be the player I want.”

— Kawhi Leonard

“Winning is motivation.”

— Kawhi Leonard

“It’s all mental. I have to worry about my game.”

— Kawhi Leonard

Facts Check

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