Mo Bamba and Kawhi Leonard wouldn’t seem like they’d have a whole lot in common. They both play ball, sure, but what else could possibly bring them together?
Apparently, it was a family tragedy that opened the window for their relationship.
(via John Denton of NBA.com)
"After my brother went away for a while, Kawhi reached out to me. He just kind of stepped up and played the big brother role for me," Bamba said recently. "He’s always been a family friend for us."
"He made it to the NBA. We all had high hopes for him and I remember him saying that he was going to get here (to the NBA)," recalled Leonard after his Raptors beat the Magic in dramatic fashion on Tuesday night. "I’m really proud of him for making it (to the NBA) and being a top-10 pick. He looks comfortable and looks like he belongs here. He’s playing with confidence, shooting the ball well and doing a good job of helping on the weak side of the defense by blocking shots. He’s doing really good."
The mentor role that has Kawhi played for Mo since his brother got locked up years ago has been huge. Leonard was there to support him in the rough time. And without him, the journey for the young big man may not have even been possible.
Stories like these, while not so often told, really tell the story of the impact basketball stars can have off the court. And it’s actions like these that really determine what kind of person these stars really are.