Kawhi Leonard, popularly known by his nickname the ‘Klaw,’ is an American professional basketball player with the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers as a small forward/shooting guard
The two-time NBA Champion 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.
This article on Kawhi Leonard’s biography facts, childhood, and personal life presents a notable account from his early life to date.
Other 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 & Profile
|Full Name:||Kawhi Anthony Leonard|
|Born:||June 29, 1991 (age 30 years)|
|Place of Birth:||Los Angeles, California United States of America|
|Current Team:||Los Angeles Clippers|
|Position:||Small forward / Shooting guard|
|Height:||6 feet, 7 inches|
|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)|
Kawhi Leonard Childhood & Early Life
Kawhi Anthony 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.
Kawhi Leonard’s father was murdered in 2008 at the Compton car wash he owned.
Kawhi Leonard Basketball Career
High School Basketball
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 victory 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.
In 2009, he was also listed as the number 48 player in the entire nation and number 8 small forward.
During his freshman year 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 entry to the NCAA tournament but was defeated in the 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.
He was dubbed first-team All-MWC, MWC freshman of the year, and the 2010 MWC tournament MVP.
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 by 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.
San Antonio Spurs (2011–2018)
Kawhi Leonard 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 participate in the 2012 Rising challenge and coming fourth in the votes for Rookie of the Year.
Leonard 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 to the Finals, facing rivals, the Miami Heat.
He led the San Antonio Spurs in defeating the Miami Heats.
Kawhi Leonard was awarded the NBA Finals MVP award after averaging 17.8 points with a 61% shooting rate.
Though Leonard was battling with blurry vision, he continued to play in the 2014-2015 season but was ruled out indefinitely after having infections in his right eye.
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 the franchise 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 Leonard.
He also was involved in disputes with the Spurs management over his rehabilitation.
Kawhi did not grace the court for notable periods.
Toronto Raptors (2018–2019)
Several reports were claiming that Leonard requested a trade from the Spurs in June 2018.
These 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 Raptors was a successful one.
He received Player of the Week honors in December and helped the Raptors to their first NBA finals.
Leonard proved his worth as an A-rated basketball player at the NBA finals, 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 league’s history, 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.
Los Angeles Clippers (2019–present)
Kawhi Leonard signed with the LA Clippers on July 10, 2019, in a reported $103 million contract for three years, with a clause to opt-out in 2021.
His debut game was a 112–102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, registering 30 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Leonard put up several outstanding performances in the following games and was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for January 13–19, 2020.
He was also named NBA All-Star MVP in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.
Kawhi Leonard Personal Life
Leonard is the youngest of 5 children born to his parents—Mark Leonard and Kim Leonard and has four older sisters.
His father was killed in his Compton car wash, which he owned. His murderer is yet to be found.
American football wide receiver Stevie Johnson is Leonard’s cousin.
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.
Leonard is currently in a relationship with his long-time girlfriend Kishele Shipley from 2014.
In July 2016, Shipley gave birth to their first child, a daughter, Kaliyah Leonard.
In March 2019, Shipley reportedly gave birth to their second child, a son.
Leonard is known for his reserved personality and he knows how to keep his personal life private.
He had expressed his dislike for the media.
Leonard has tried to distance himself from fame, preferring to live a private life.
This is one major reason for his absence on social media.
Leonard signed an endorsement deal with multinational sports footwear makes New Balance.
Leonard sued sports accessories makers Nike in a federal court over the use of his ‘Klaw’ logo without his authorization.
Kawhi Leonard Achievements & Awards
- 2-times NBA champion (2014, 2019)
- 2-times NBA Finals MVP (2014, 2019)
- 4-times NBA All-Star (2016, 2017, 2019, 2020)
- NBA All-Star Game MVP (2020)
- 2-times All-NBA First Team (2016, 2017)
- 2-times All-NBA Second Team (2019, 2020)
- 2-times NBA Defensive Player of the Year (2015, 2016)
- 3-times NBA All-Defensive First Team (2015–2017)
- 3-times NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2014, 2019, 2020)
- NBA All-Rookie First Team (2012)
- NBA steals leader (2015)
- AP Athlete of the Year (2019)
- Consensus second-team All-American (2011)
- 2-times First-team All-MWC (2010, 2011)
- No. 15 retired by San Diego State Aztecs
- 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
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