Former Coach Reveals the Completely Different Side of Kawhi Leonard: ‘That Dude is a Comedian’

Published 02/02/2021, 12:48 PM EST
Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors looks on during warm up prior to the Toronto Raptors vs Portland Trail Blazers NBA regular season game at Scotiabank Arena on March 1, 2019, in Toronto, Canada (Toronto Raptors win 119-117) (Photo by Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


When it comes to his ability, LA Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is undoubtedly a superstar. But off the court, he is far from it. He has always preferred to stay away from the limelight and has often been joked about for being a robot. But according to his former coach Phil Handy, Leonard is one of the most fun people to be around.

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“(Kawhi is) one of the coolest cats I’ve been around,” Handy said during a recent podcast. “But the crazy thing about it is when you get to know him, behind closed doors, that dude is a comedian. People don’t get to see that side of him.

“He’s just like a normal dude. He isn’t enamored with all the fluff; he doesn’t have an entourage, he’s not on social media, he’s not flashy. He’s got his boy, Jeremy, who’s an assistant coach with the Clippers, he’s got his uncle and his family. And he keeps his circle tight. He’s one of the dudes who just want to hoop.”

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Kawhi Leonard is all about the work

Handy spent a season at Toronto as the assistant coach when Leonard had just arrived. During the podcast he also mentioned how after his long welcome message to Kawhi, the first thing he asked was when would they get to practice. Leonard also asked Handy to be completely honest with him regarding their training because he would be straightforward as well.

That’s how their working relationship began. Handy also mentioned that they trained for a month before the season. That proves his determination and dedication towards the cause. Eventually it all paid off when the Raptors beat the Warriors in the NBA Finals. Leonard won Finals MVP after leading the Raptors to their first ever NBA title.

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This season, he is continuing to put in work with the Clippers. But unlike the previous seasons, he isn’t taking games off anymore. He played a back-to-back game this season, his first in years. The Clippers currently hold the number one spot in the West, and Leonard’s MVP caliber form has been vital towards that.

He will be aiming to improve from last year, and similar to the Raptors situation, help the Clippers get their first ever ring as well.

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Dec 25, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) controls the ball as Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) guards in the third quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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Aaron Mathew

1638 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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