Board man. I’m a board man. Board man gets paid. The mysterious taciturn sphinx-like phenom that is NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard — the sage, the truth teller, the Klaw — used to call himself the Board Man in college. It’s a reference to the backboard, of course, which is synonymous with rebounding. Grabbing boards is one of the most critical elements impacting every basketball game.
A reporter at The Athletic asked a few of Leonard’s former teammates at San Diego State if he ever talked much, even back then. He didn’t. No surprise. But when he did, he emphasized the right thing and also predicted the future. Kawhi Leonard is the Board Man, meaning he does the things that you need to do to control the game. Hey by the time he retires, he may well be called Chairman of the Board. But for now, Board Man. It’s even better than the Klaw.
Kawhi is a psychopath. pic.twitter.com/c4ktQokPu5
— ™️Marcus (@TheMisterMarcus) June 4, 2019
Yup, even back at San Diego State where he spent two years as a young man just finding his unique and special path, Leonard evidently knew what was important and what wasn’t. Talking a lot? Expressing yourself with words rather than actions? Leonard puts that in “not important” category. Doing the things that get wins and make a major impact on the game? The things that get you paid — in basketball parlance? That’s in the “important” category. Leonard has always known it.
So it wasn’t just the mentorship of Spurs legend Tim Duncan or the years playing the “right way” under Coach Gregg Popovich that cultivated Leonard’s unique set of priorities, his ability to remain undistracted in this most distracted age. Leonard — rather, Board Man — apparently always has known the one absolute truth about the world: results are what ultimately matters. “It I heard it once, I heard it 50 times,” says one teammate. “I’m a board man. Board man gets paid.” And he sure has.