So here’s the first video we have of Kawhi Leonard on his tour of China. As I’ve said previously, we have some Spurs fans in China who are helping with updates, images and video on what Kawhi is up to in the Far East.
Here is the first video update we can share, and interview he took part in, and below is a transcript and translation for our Chinese readers.
First of all, welcome to Beijing. Your fans must be very curious, they don’t know how you keep your level of humility even as an NBA superstar. How do you do that?
Just respecting the game of basketball, every aspect of it. Every game needs your body just as focused as your mind. So I try to stay respectful to the game of basketball, and also life in general. If you don’t have a life outside of basketball, you won’t be a famous basketball player forever, so I try to take that into account.
You have many young people here in China who view you as a role model. Do you have anything to say to them?
Just to continue to enjoy the game, and like I just said, to respect it. That could mean studying it, going out working on your game, shooting jumpshots, dribbling, eating the right food, making sure your body’s prepared to play a game, so just be respectful of the game. Make sure you take care of your schoolwork as well. If you’re not fortunate enough to go to the NBA [or any other professional league], you could also get a scholarship, a degree or focus towards something else in life.
Kawhi, welcome to Beijing. Obviously, you’re the first Spurs player in China. Would you like to invite Timmy next time?
[patented Kawhi Leonard laugh], you said you would like to invite Timmy? You should try to get him out here. I’ve been out here for a while, and the experience has been great.This place is very diverse, the people here are very friendly. We’re going to go to the Great Wall of China, see what that is about. It’s going to be fun to see it in person.
How do you prepare for the new season?
Make sure to start the rehabbing process slower, get back to 100%, come back a better player, better man, better leader. Just like I said, I respect it, I’m very passionate about it, this is why I work so hard about it. You’ll see what I’ve been working on next season.
What are your expectations for next season?
The expectations for every season are always the same, work hard on your game, play as a team, and work for the championship.
From my experiences, playing in this league isn’t about the opponent you face, but is about what’s in yourself and your team. I just focus on the Spurs, and making sure I have the best team, and it’s basically just us moving together as a collective group, and getting better day by day.
What are your thoughts on the Rudy Gay signing?
I think it’s great for us. He can score, he has a lot of length, we’ll be able to switch on defense, but we’ll just have to see over the course of this season. I think he’s the right fit for us for sure.
What’s the most interesting thing about you and Popovich?
I think that people have the wrong perception of others. Some people think that Coach Pop is mean all the time, while others think I don’t smile. That’s what I think is the most interesting thing between me and Coach Pop.
How did Tim Duncan and Tony Parker inspire your career?
They’re very hard working and they don’t get into trouble. They’re also very humble and they taught me how to do things in a professional manner. Just following their lead has helped me immensely with my career.
What are your thoughts on the younger members on the Spurs?
They looked great during summer league, solid offense and defense. They also are great shooters, which is definitely an added bonus. Predicting how others would pan out is a difficult thing, but I have faith in the training staff, and I have faith in the players as well.