Rising NBA star Kawhi Leonard is soft-spoken and rarely speaks to media – even his coach, Gregg Popovich, admitted in the past that he doesn’t speak to him. But after his first-ever NBA All-Star Game selection, the Jordan Brand-sponsored athlete spoke with Nike about his selection.
“It was a great feeling to be named an All-Star starter, to know that my hard work is paying off and fans around the world are recognizing that,” Leonard said. “My team is also playing well at the moment and, with that, I’ve been given more opportunities to continue to progress on the court. It also motivates me for the second half of the season, because who wants to play good for only half a season.”
Leonard, who is averaging 19.8 points, 2.5 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game this season, hits the court in the Jordan XX9. The fourth-year strong forward out of San Diego State helped the San Antonio Spurs win a title in 2014, earning NBA Finals MVP honors.
Leonard said what he’s most looking forward to during NBA All-Star Weekend is getting on the court with Los Angeles Laker legend Kobe Bryant.
“I remember being a teenager and watching 40-year-old Michael Jordan compete in his final All-Star game,” he said. “This year I’m looking forward to stepping on the court with Kobe. He’s a legend and, given it’s his last year, it’ll be an honor to play alongside him.”
The NBA All-Star Game will air on TNT on Feb. 14 from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.