Associated Press names Kawhi Leonard 2019 Male Athlete of the Year
Leonard guided the Toronto Raptors to their first-ever championship last season, winning his second Finals MVP along the way:
Leonard is The Associated Press’ male athlete of the year for 2019, comfortably winning a vote by AP member sports editors and AP beat writers. He becomes the fifth NBA player to win the award, joining Larry Bird (1986), three-time recipient Michael Jordan (1991 through 1993), three-time recipient LeBron James (2013, 2016, 2018) and Stephen Curry (2015). The award has been made annually since 1931, and Simone Biles was announced Thursday as the women’s recipient for 2019.
Leonard averaged 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists during the regular season for the Raptors. As all superstars do, Leonard took his game to another level in the playoffs. He put up 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Toronto defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games in the Finals.
Kawhi signed with the Clippers in free agency after his one-year run with the Raptors. The Clippers also acquired six-time All-Star Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder, creating a second superteam in the city of Los Angeles. With Leonard and George leading the way, the Clippers are championship contenders for the first time in franchise history.
In 24 games this season for the Clippers, Leonard is averaging 25.9 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists. The Clippers are 23-10. They are in third place in the Western Conference standings.