Kawhi Leonard is one of the most misunderstood superstars in the NBA today.
Unlike many of his peers, he doesn't actively seek out the spotlight and prefers to live a more quiet and reserved lifestyle.
But over the past few years, Leonard's success in the league has put a lot of attention to his name, and we have gotten a much bigger sense of who he is behind the scenes.
Here's what his former teammate Kyle Lowry had to say about him earlier this month:
Kawhi rubbed people the wrong way because of how he operates. He’s like, 'Yo, give me the ball. I’ma get it done.' You might be like, 'Kawhi, I'm open,' But he's like, 'Ah, I’m gonna get this bucket.'" You understand he’s the best basketball player on your team. Big dog gotta eat... At the end of the day big dog gotta eat. We give you the ball, you do your thing. As long as we win games, we're all good.
My role just changed, because the year before I score a little bit more. He was averaging 24-25, and we had other guys around. Marc Gasol, Danny Green. Freddy was coming into his own, Pascal was coming into his own, we had Serge. My scoring went way down, but my assists went up, because I knew I had to make sure big dog ate.
So, Leonard's demeanor may put off some people at first, but having him on your team seems to always pay off in the end.
And while his leadership off the court may be hard to appreciate at first, Leonard's talent and skills are clear to anyone who takes the time to watch.
In fact, speaking on Kawhi, FOX Sports analyst Skip Bayless took his praise to another, citing that Leonard is actually the closest thing to Michael Jordan he has ever seen.
"I don't know why Lowry would start out by saying Kawhi rubbed people the wrong way by this, they won the championship! 2019 Finals: 29-10-4. You better give Kawhi the ball and let that big dog EAT.
Kawhi is the closest thing to Jordan we've had since Jordan. As a jump shooter, he's even better than Kobe was at that."
Skip speaks rather boldly on Kawhi, but he's not wrong in that the guy is a truly well-rounded player. On offense, there's nowhere that he can't score the ball, whether it's on the perimeter, from the post, or on drives to the rim.
On defense, he can guard virtually any position.
But after suffering an injury in the 2021 playoffs, nobody knows what to expect from Kawhi this upcoming season or how much time he will miss.
It seems we'll just have to wait and see for ourselves how it all plays out.