‘Just About Getting Better’: Phil Handy Reveals How Kawhi Leonard Wanted to Train With Kobe Bryant

Published 06/19/2021, 1:30 PM EDT


Talking about work style, Kobe Bryant is the inspiration that any player needs. Kawhi Leonard, a terrific force in the league, encapsulates the teachings of the Mamba. The ‘Klaw’ is the apt second name given to the superstar for his ball-handling skills. And, adding to his talent, his mid-range jumpers are a piece of art for the basketball audience.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Despite Kawhi’s brilliance in the game, fans don’t see a reactive game face on the star’s face. He has a subtle way of dealing with wins and losses which makes him an underdog player most of the time.

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

Kawhi chooses Kobe Bryant as his training partner

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Well, Kawhi’s determination and hard work has often been familiarized with Kobe Bryant. And, former Raptors coach Phil Handy talked about Kawhi’s wish to train with Kobe in his prime years. In the usual scenario, Kawhi likes to train in the gym on his own and with no distractions. But this one time, he needed Mamba’s motivation.

Phil narrated on ‘All the Smoke’ podcast, “He’s (Kawhi) just one of those dudes that really just about getting better. He’s like, ‘Yo, I wanna get with Kobe. How can we get with Kobe? I’m trynna get that process.’ So we went down and spent some time with Kobe.”

DIVE DEEPER

‘It’s All One City’: Clippers Coach Tyronn Lue Roots For LA Fan Support After Lakers’ Season Exit

about 2 months ago

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Kawhi Leonard always wants to get better

Kawhi wanted to get better and continue learning. He has a drive as a player to get committed to his work and this time he wished it was under Kobe’s guidance. Phil further added, “He (Kawhi) was always like, ‘I want to figure out this post-up stuff, I want to get my footwork right, my handles right.'”

Phil Handy has had a chance to guide a number of legends during his coaching career. From Cleveland Cavaliers, then Toronto Raptors to the Los Angeles Lakers, Phil has been on three championship teams. And, Kawhi was another product of his training who finally lifted a title with him in 2019.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

WATCH THIS STORY: Kobe Bryant’s Most Memorable Playoff Games 

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Pavni Ahuja

449 articles

Pavni Ahuja is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Housing a keen interest in sports journalism, she is pursuing an undergraduate Journalism degree from Christ University. Pavni is an ardent fan of the NBA, with prior district-level playing experience in basketball.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT