With an already successful career, there are only a few things Kawhi Leonard is yet to win in the NBA. The Klaw can now say he’s an All-Star Game MVP after his great game on Sunday night, leading Team LeBron to get the victory over Team Giannis.
This meant Leonard was the first recipient of the Kobe Bryant MVP award, which was permanently renamed in honor of the late basketball icon and former Los Angeles Lakers superstar.
Speaking to the TNT crew after the game was finished, Kawhi shared an impressive story about Kobe Bryant and the latter competitiveness. Bryant reportedly told Kawhi that he shot 49 times in a basketball game.
"Kobe asked what's the most shots you had in a game, I'm like 19. He said 'I have shot it 47 times,'" Leonard said.
This isn’t odd, of course, as Kobe had his fair share of games with over 40 field goal attempts. He tried 46 shots during his 81-point outburst against the Toronto Raptors back in 2006, and he also recorded 50 shots in his final NBA game against the Utah Jazz in 2016.
Leonard developed a good relationship with Kobe, one of the people responsible for his fine offensive. As a matter of fact, Bryant was also one of the first people that Leonard called when he was making a decision to move to LA over the summer.
The 2x NBA Finals MVP finished the All-Star Game with 30 points on 11-for-18 shooting from the field, to go along with seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals. The Klaw was also one 3-pointer away from tying Paul George’s All-Star game record for most threes in a game, going 8-for-14 from deep.
This was indeed a performance that would have made Kobe very proud.