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 Toronto Raptors. 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

Full Name Kawhi Anthony Leonard
Nickname The Klaw
Birthday June 29, 1991 (age 27)
Place of Birth Los Angeles, California United States of America
Nationality American
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)
Partner Kishele Shipley
Children Kaliyah Leonard (Daughter)
Net Worth $25 million
Occupation Basketball Player
Playing Career 2011 – present
Zodiac Sign Cancer

Kawhi Leonard Childhood and Early Life

Kawhi Leonard Childhood Photo
Kawhi Leonard Childhood Photo

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 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 he led the King High Wolves to a 30-3 record alongside Tony Shell. After putting up an amazing performance he was named California Mr Basketball, He was considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and was also listed as No. 8 small forward and the No. 48 player in the entire nation in 2009.

College Career

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

Kawhi Leonard playing for the San Diego State
Kawhi Leonard playing for the San Diego State

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

Professional Career

San Antonio Spurs (2011–2018)

Leonard in action for San Antonio Spurs
Kawhi Leonard in action for San Antonio Spurs

Kawhi was the 5th 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 Rookie of the Year voting. 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 Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to win both NBA Defensive Player of the Year and 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. The 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–)

Kawhi Leonard playing for Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard playing for Toronto Raptors

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 and his teammate Danny Green were traded to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poltl and a protected 2019 first round draft pick.

Kawhi Leonard Personal Life

Leonard is the youngest of 5 children born to Mark Leonard and Kim Robertson. He has four senior sisters. His father was killed in his Compton car wash which he owned. His murderer is yet to be found. Leonard is the cousin of Steve Johnson, America Football wide receiver. Leonard girlfriend Kishele Shipley gave birth to their first child in July 2016.

Leonard and his girlfriend Kishele Shipley
Leonard and his girlfriend Kishele Shipley

Leonard has kept his relationship with his girlfriend Kishele a secret so as to protect her from the media.

Kawhi Leonard Achievements and Awards

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

Kawhi Leonard Quotes

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

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

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.

Winning is motivation.

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

Facts Check

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