(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

One of My Favorite NBA Players of All Time. . . And He Still Has Many Chapters to Write

Kawhi Leonard.

There it is. 

Last night, he hit a three and then ran downcourt to block James Harden's layup as time was close to expiring to seal a win for the Spurs.  A few seasons ago I saw him block a shot near the three-point line.  No big deal?  Well, what if I were to tell you that he simply ran down the court, not looking anywhere but ahead of him, trusting his instincts that the ball would end up in the hands of a teammate.  It did, and that teammate through a football-like pass to him for a layup? 

Basketball IQ?  Off the charts.

Humility?  Ditto.

I recall watching the Spurs dismantling of the Heat several years ago in the NBA Finals.  I recall that LeBron and company simply could not keep up with the superior ball movement that the Spurs displayed.  It was quite a work of art, and, in the center of it all, was a unique two-way player -- Kawhi Leonard.

There are great players who will draw more mention -- James, Harden, Russell Westbrook just to name three.  Others in the equation at times are Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins of the Pelicans, the "Greek Freak" up in Milwaukee and of course almost the entire starting roster of the Golden State Warriors.  And, of course, many others.

You don't hear as much about Leonard as some others because, well, you don't hear from Leonard himself.  He is soft spoken, drives his old car and uses coupons to buy his favorite food -- wings.  He does something that many advise on, even if few follow the advice -- he lets his play do his talking for him. 

Look, if you're a hoops fan, you know what I'm talking about.  This player is someone very special.  If you're not a basketball fan or only a casual fan, watch the Spurs and confirm what I am talking about.  He can handle the ball, he can pass, he can shoot it, he can rebound it and he can defend.  He is a very complete player who excels in all aspects of the game.

A real treat to watch, especially for the connoisseur.


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