Kawhi can be viewed as an NBA fans spirit animal. He doesn’t change his persona, he doesn’t try to attract unwanted attention, he’s humble and often relatable. But why is he so quiet? Is there a specific incident we can pinpoint that limited Kawhi in his ability to open up verbally and, to some, emotionally? Maybe it started in 2008. January 18, 2008 – Kawhi Leonard’s father was shot and killed at the car wash he owned in Compton, California.
Kawhi worked regularly at the car wash growing up and the death of his father would make anyone, even Kawhi, emotional. He opted to continue to play in the basketball game with his high school team the night evening, yet subsequently broke down emotionally after the game. To this day in 2019, the murder of Kawhi Leonard’s father is still open, as a killer or perhaps even suspects have yet to be mainly identified.
As a child, Kawhi was always perceived as quiet and humble, yet after the tragedy involving his father, one can only think he took more time to reflect about life and truly avoid any narrow path that could lead him to a life that involved anything other than the loved game of basketball.
We know how the story goes from here. For his upperclassmen years, Kawhi would attend Martin Luther King High School in Riverside, California. He would manage the Riverside squad to a 30-3 record and be ranked as the #8 small forward in his high school class, good enough to be ranked 48th overall nationally. Needless to say, I think we can piece together the rest of his journey from there. What drove him though? He had to be hurting for a few years that his father would never see him succeed in the manner in which his career has shaped out to, yet as he starts a family of him own, I can guarantee he will continue to live out his father’s legacy.