Kings’ Tyrese Haliburton Reveals How Kawhi Leonard Gave Him His Welcome to the NBA Moment

Published 09/07/2021, 11:44 PM EDT
Jun 6, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) moves in for a basket against Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis (6) and center Boban Marjanovic (51) during the second half in game seven of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


We all know that the league today requires insane physical attributes to keep up with the pace. One of the players who has seen this through is Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard. The 30 YO superstar is one of the strongest players and also has the physical upgrades required for the game.

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While on The Old Man And The Three, Sacramento rookie, Tyrese Haliburton spoke of his welcome to the NBA moment. Unsurprisingly, it involves none other than the ‘Klaw’.

Jun 14, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots against the Utah Jazz during the first half in game four in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Kawhi Leonard insane strength

While speaking to JJ Reddick, a question came up. The question said do NBA players feel small in front of other NBA players. Tyrese admitted that he does feel small next to some of the players, especially coming into the league as a smaller frame player.

However, he said he doesn’t necessarily feel insecure. After that, Reddick spoke about how he felt about Kawhi’s strength when they played against each other. Moreover, Haliburton also said that Kawhi Leonard was his ‘Welcome to the NBA strength’.

He said: “Oh man, it’s funny that you say that because he might have been my intro to like welcome to NBA. He was like my welcome to NBA strength. Like, we played the Clippers in LA and I’m at this point where you know where guys off the bench are guarding me.”

He added: “I’m not that high up on this scouting report. And, Kawhi is like ‘yo I got him’. I’m like what’s going on. So I come in to get a dribble handoff and his hand is on my hip. I’m at the three-point line, I think, and then I get the handoff I look down and I’m at the logo. I don’t even know how I got out here but I think he pushed me. Yeah, it is crazy how strong these guys are.”

Jun 6, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) reacts during the second half in game seven of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This just adds to the dominance of the ‘Klaw’ in the league today. Unfortunately, Kawhi Leonard could miss most of the coming season because of a partial ACL tear in the playoffs last season.

Haliburton’s rookie year

Tyrese, who came into the league last season as the 12th pick in the NBA draft, has been very impressive with his skills. While the Kings did miss the playoffs, Haliburton and Fox did all they could to help the organization.

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Feb 25, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) shoots against New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (11) in the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: John Minchillo/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Haliburton averaged 13 points and 5 assists in 30 minutes of play. In addition, his shooting prowess was on display as he shot over 40% from deep. As he is yet to fully develop into the NBA system, it will be exciting to see him grow.

Do you think Haliburton can be a top player in the NBA someday? Let us know in the comments below.

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Anuj Talwalkar

295 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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