In the words of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, some players want to be great, and some want to be stars.
Kawhi Leonard is well on his way to being great. But he really couldn’t care less about being a star. It’s a theme that comes through time and time again in an incredible feature on the Spurs’ most important player, in which Leonard’s teammates, coaches, bosses and family let the world know that this is how Leonard’s always been.
And given Leonard’s tendency to shy away from the glitz and glamour of NBA stardom, we’re not at all surprised by his choice of vehicle in the San Antonio area — an old truck that Leonard drives because, well, it still runs (via Sports Illustrated):
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A lot has changed for Leonard since that conversation with Pop—he was named Finals MVP in 2014, captured Defensive Player of the Year in ’15 and this season seized the unofficial title of best two-way player in the NBA—but a lot hasn’t. Leonard spends his summers in a two-bedroom apartment in San Diego, where he hangs a mini hoop over one door so he can play 21 against Castleberry. He carries a basketball in his backpack even when he isn’t going to the gym. He often drives a rehabbed ’97 Chevy Tahoe, nicknamed Gas Guzzler, which he drove across Southern California’s Inland Empire as a teenager. “It runs,” Leonard explains, “and it’s paid off.”
Because let’s face it — Leonard’s obviously super-frugal. The only time anyone’s seen him sweat is when he lost the complimentary coupons that food franchise WingStop gave him for being a sponsor.
This, of course, after he signed a multi-million dollar deal that enabled him to buy wings for the entire planet if he saw fit. But don’t worry; he got a replacement booklet of coupons, so Leonard can once again get his chicken on — say, after showing zero reaction to a game-winner, like he did earlier this season against the Magic:
Just don’t get any BBQ sauce on the seats. They’re vintage.