Kawhi Leonard: No aspirations for LeBron-level fame
Kawhi Leonard is arguably the most low-key superstar playing in the NBA, and the fact he lacks the notoriety and fame of many of his high-profile counterparts in the league is just fine by him.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday during NBA Finals Media Day, the Toronto Raptors forward laid out why he does not aspire to be famous, instead pointing out he plays basketball simply for the love of the game.
"I'm not playing the game for that reason."— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 29, 2019
Kawhi on not having as much fame as other players. pic.twitter.com/p9NfDiUqGl
“No,” Leonard responded when asked by a reporter if it bothers him that he lacks the notoriety of NBA superstars like LeBron James and Stephen Curry. “I’m not playing the game for that reason. I’m out here playing to have fun and trying to be the best player I can be.
“I’m happy with myself and what I’ve done in my career, and I’m just going to keep going from there. It’s not about me being famous or wanting to have more fame than those guys. It’s about me playing basketball and having fun on the floor.”
Leonard, as noted, often exhibits enigmatic and mercurial tendencies, but the case can be made it’s by no means done to attract attention. Instead, Leonard arguably conducts himself in such a manner because of an aversion for the spotlight. The fact alone that footage of Leonard awkwardly laughing during a press conference earlier this season inspired memes highlights his low-profile tendencies.
All that said and whether Leonard likes it or not, his profile has undoubtedly been raised with his phenomenal postseason run while leading the Raptors to the NBA Finals.
What’s more, regardless of whether or not the Raptors upset the Warriors and win the title, Leonard will dominate the headlines this coming offseason due to his uncertain future in Toronto amid impending free agency.