Kawhi Leonard was born to Mark Leonard and Kim Robertson in Los Angeles, California on January 29, 1991.
When Leonard was five years old, his parents split so he moved to Moreno Valley, California to live with his mother. During Leonard’s teenage years, he frequently visited his father on weekends and summers helping him with the carwash he owned in Compton, California.
Leonard initially attended Canyon Springs High School located in Moreno Valley. In Leonard’s freshman year, he missed the basketball tryouts because his mother had to work and therefore was unable to drive him. The school’s coach refused to let him on the team so he never played for them that year.
Instead, Leonard spent his freshman year playing football at Canyon Springs. Leonard’s father also played football in high school as he was a hefty man, standing 6’3″ and weighing nearly 300 pounds.
After his freshman year, Kawhi Leonard ultimately decided to quit football to primarily focus on basketball. His father, however, father was heartbroken by his decision. Nonetheless, he still remained supportive of Leonard and even helped train him.
In Leonard’s junior year, he transferred to Martin Luther King High School located in Riverside, California. However, on January 8th, 2008, Leonard received the heartbreaking news that would change his life forever. His father was shot and killed at the car wash he owned in Compton. The killer was never found and the motive still remains unknown.
Despite the heartbreaking news, Leonard played the next night against Dominguez Hills at the Pauley Pavilion. From there on out, Leonard’s uncle, Dennis Robertson, became a “father figure” for him and played a vital role in his life. Robertson is currently Leonard’s chief business strategist and is also the president of the Elite Athlete Division at Protocol International.
During Leonard’s senior year at King High, he averaged 22.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 3.9 assists. He helped lead the team to a 30-3 record and the state championship. Leonard ultimately earned California’s Mr. Basketball.
Kawhi Leonard didn’t receive many scholarships as many power conference programs passed on him. San Diego State University was one of the first colleges to offer him a scholarship. Therefore, he decided to commit to SDSU during his senior year.
In college, Leonard would leave his house at 5 am to work out before his classes. In Leonard’s sophomore season at SDSU, he led them to a 34–3 record and to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. However, they lost to eventual national champions, the University of Connecticut Huskies.
Nine years later, Leonard has ascended himself as arguably one of the best basketball players in the NBA. He was drafted as the 15th overall pick by the Indiana Pacers in 2011 but immediately got traded to the San Antonio Spurs for George Hill. There, he grew into an elite superstar before landing with the Toronto Raptors for one season. He’s now a two-time champion and a two-time Finals MVP.
Kawhi Leonard is playing back in the city he was born in, Los Angeles, California. All his family and friends now get to watch him play in person. Leonard is seeking to win his third championship, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to the second round after dismantling the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 on Sunday.