You will be forgiven for not recognizing the man in the photo below. His own teammate, the future Hall of Famer Manu Ginobili, hardly recognizes a smiling Kawhi Leonard either. Leonard, who has been the NBA’s quietest superstar for half a decade, seems to be enjoying his summer — if the shared photos are any indication. It’s not that Leonard is grim most of the time, but he usually wears a face displaying preternatural calm and otherworldly determination — nothing more. Leonard’s impassive face is a Spurs trademark. He also appears to barely notice the cameras filming the NBA games he plays in — an unusual approach when so many of his NBA colleagues seem totally focused on where the cameras are.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) August 18, 2017
Leonard is probably just enjoying the fact that he’s never been on a losing team and that he has made himself a perennial candidate for NBA MVP. He accomplished that without smiling, so Ginobili’s concern may be warranted. Is Kawhi going soft?! Unlikely. Maybe he just likes the Far East; the photos are from Leonard’s China tour, where he’s made stops in Beijing (see below) and Shaoxing (also below). But still it’s odd for Spurs fans to see the joy on Kawhi’s face. Here’s Manu on his teammate, in which he wonders “What’s going on?” with all the Kawhi “laughing and smiling”?
What’s going on? I saw him laughing/smiling more in thess two days than in the previous six seasons. Am I missing something? ???
— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) August 19, 2017
— NBA (@NBA) August 22, 2017
— NBA (@NBA) August 23, 2017