clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Getting to know Kawhi Leonard from half a world away

The Spurs star was at his ease with the press on his trip to China, which is a windfall for any longtime Leonard-watchers.

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors - Game One Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Kawhi in China

A post shared by KL_China_Trip (@kl_china_trip) on

Did you see Kawhi Leonard during his trip to China? I mean did you see him? The best (two way?) player in the NBA made a goodwill tour of China visiting Beijing and Shanghai and came off like a seasoned touring professional.

You read that correctly. In what was a most unexpected transformation, The Klaw exhibited comfort and ease with media. His responses were true to his persona — respectful and thoughtful. But his body language and comfort level showed a relaxed man enjoying himself.

This was not the Kawhi Leonard that often seems uneasy answering questions about superstardom, etc. This was a laid back, engaged, conversational Kawhi.

After viewing the video where Leonard talked about his business plans, fatherhood, and community service, I felt like I was watching something that wasn’t meant for me. Not me personally. But for us. He was in China, talking to Chinese reporters about his life in a way that was so far removed from how he behaves with the U.S. press that it almost seemed like I’d stumbled onto private footage of him that had been acquired by less-than-legitimate means.

Of course, it’s not like he didn’t know we were watching. The people around him were there for the purpose of covering him. And unlike Kawhi’s 1997 Chevy, all of the computers and smartphones they used are certainly updated and permit signals in real time.

So why? Why did he open up? What made the time right for Kawhi to let us get to know a little bit about him as a person? And what was making him smile so much?

We may never know the answers to those questions, but those of us who can’t get enough Spurs content in their lives will content ourselves with combing through the treasure trove of pics and videos — looking for any little piece of new information that will help us understand our team a little bit better.