As if we needed another example to prove that Kawhi Leonard is simply wired differently than most players, he just made NBA history by making an extremely unique decision.
Leonard, by choosing to spurn the Toronto Raptors in free agency in favor of the Los Angeles Clippers, became the first player ever to switch teams the offseason after winning Finals MVP.
The only case that can even be considered comparable was Michael Jordan leaving the Chicago Bulls in 1995 and 1998, but he did that both times to retire (however briefly in both cases), not to sign elsewhere and suit up with a different franchise the next season.
Leonard is no stranger to making unique history, either.
The superstar forward is also the only player ever to win two Finals MVP awards yet never earn a regular-season MVP. There were special circumstances causing that, like his first Finals MVP coming completely out of nowhere as a member of the San Antonio Spurs in 2014, after a fairly mundane regular season, and the second coming after a campaign where he missed 22 regular-season games due to load management. But no matter how you spin it, it’s still a crazy feat.
Leonard established himself as arguably the top player in the league after his 2019 playoff run. Over 24 games, the three-time All-Star averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.7 steals per contest on fiery 49.0/37.9/88.4 shooting splits. Couple those averages with his otherworldly level of defense, and you have maybe the most complete player in the league at present.
With Leonard making this league-changing decision, it’ll be fascinating to find out if Leonard is able to make even more NBA history by becoming the first player to win Finals MVP with three different franchises.
Considering the situation he’s joining, it certainly seems possible.