Kawhi Leonard is a throwback to the days when players didn’t beat their chests after a dunk. Or dance in the endzone. Or pop their jerseys as if the 26,000 fans in the arena were confused about which team a player is on. The quiet, tireless, ferociously competitive Leonard is one of only three players in NBA history to have won a Finals MVP, made an All-Star team and been named NBA Defensive Player of the Year. The other two are named Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.
There’s another guy who would be on that list, if Michael Jordan wasn’t. That’s Jordan’s partner in dominance, Scottie Pippen, who made the NBA All-Defensive First Team eight times, being an All-Star seven times and winning six NBA championships. Problem for Pippen was his teammate Jordan won the Finals MVP all six times. Like Jordan and Pippen, after Kawhi Leonard dunks or scores be begins immediately to play defense. It’s his job. It’s so Spurs. And it was so Bulls, which accounts for why those two teams won more championships than the rest since the 90s began. And the Spurs may win even more — because Kawhi Leonard is just like Scottie Pippen, with a touch of Jordan thrown in.