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Kawhi Leonard reacts to being tabbed world’s 2nd-best player (vid)

Kawhi Leonard without question is among the best basketball players in the NBA. Fittingly, Leonard was recently tabbed by the NBA on TNT studio crew as the 2nd-best basketball player in the world. In response, the San Antonio Spurs superstar exhibited a team-first attitude while putting such observations and/or debates in their proper perspective.

Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley recently offered up the analysis that behind LeBron James, Leonard is the second-best player in the world. When informed of the “Inside the NBA” analysts’ discussion, Leonard blew it off, pointing out that such trivial matter are beyond his concern.

“I didn’t hear [them say that], but it doesn’t matter,” Leonard told reporters Tuesday night after the Spurs’ 116-103 Game 5win over the Memphis Grizzlies to take a 3-2 series lead. “I’m trying to be the best team in the world right now. It’s not about me, it’s about the Spurs. And that’s all I wanna do.”

The comments made during the segment obviously were intended with the highest degree of praise.

“Kids you need to watch Kawhi Leonard and learn from him,” O’Neal observed. “This guy right here is a bona fide superstar. A lot of people don’t say it but I’m saying it here right now. Kawhi Leonard is the second-best player in the league.”

“I don’t think it’s a doubt about that,” Barkley added. “LeBron’s the best player in the world, but that kid right there — offense, defense, he does it all.”

Leonard, the defending two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, is unquestionably among the most complete players in the NBA. In about 37 minutes of action per game in the playoffs, Leonard is averaging 31.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.8 steals in a tour-de-force series of performances.

The notion that Leonard would place the team’s goals above individual accolades is hardly shocking, as it’s integral to the Spurs’ organizational philosophy instilled by Gregg Popovich.