home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 12, 2019

Kawhi Leonard

Oakland, California - Practice Day

Q. When did you first understand about yourself that you were kind of built for a moment like this to lead a team like this at the highest level against the greatest competition?
KAWHI LEONARD: I don't know. It really doesn't just come to my head. It's just about going through a season. Just being able to be the best player on your team, or one of the best players. Once you keep going, reaching the steps and getting to the next round of the playoffs or just making it to the playoffs, I guess my mindset is just to keep playing and just want to win throughout the season. You come into the playoffs with the same mindset: I want to win today's game, I want to win today's game. And I feel like just having that carry over pretty much helps me or helps your team or players that get in this position.

Q. You said if you weren't playing basketball, you would be doing something with math, maybe business. I'm wondering if you had a favorite subject in math growing up, and if you had a teacher that especially meant a lot to you growing up and honing that?
KAWHI LEONARD: I can't remember really any teachers' names. Just really like math class more than any of my other classes, like English or history and things like that. I guess it just made more sense to me to use in everyday life.

Q. Kyle said that you're the best two-way player in the league right now. He also went on to say that until you got to Toronto, he didn't know how good of a shooter you were and that when he saw you putting up these monster stat lines throughout the season, it really wowed him. So what is it like for you to hear him say that?
KAWHI LEONARD: It's great to have teammates on your team that have confidence in you. It helps give you extra drive, an extra push to be better. When you play or don't play with someone, you can see how good or not good they are once you're on a team with them. I guess he's seeing me now.

Q. What do you think is the most important lesson your team has to learn from Game 5?
KAWHI LEONARD: Just from any other game: Look at our mistakes, try not to make them again. Go out there in the next game and just play with each other, have one focus and one goal and try to win it.

Q. You've been through some tragedies, some hardships growing up. You just kept moving on. How has what you've gone through in the past, losing your dad, motivated you to be here today and to be one of the top players in the NBA? And do you think of those times a lot?
KAWHI LEONARD: Once it happened, I thought about it a lot. But as I got older, I pretty much just really stopped thinking about it. I think it just gave me a sense and feel that life and basketball are two different things and just really enjoy your time and moments. Like I always say, this is basketball; just go out there and have fun. These are going to be the best years of my life, playing this game. Being 27, this young, you shouldn't be stressing in life about things that really don't matter. As long as your family is healthy, you're able to see the people that you love and you're able to walk, run, you're not injured. So all those things go into account. Go out here, lay it all out on the floor, do the best job I could possibly do and try to win.

Q. You talked a little bit after Game 5 about the mental aspect of coming back from an injury. We just found out that Kevin Durant did indeed rupture his Achilles and he was speaking about that. Can you just expand a little bit about the mental part of dealing with a serious injury, and what piece of advice would you like to give to Kevin Durant as he goes through that journey?
KAWHI LEONARD: Just from my own experience, I can talk from what I've been through. Like I said, we work so hard to get to this point and the game gets taken away from you, especially with leg injuries and things like that, you're not really able to run or do anything on the floor. So you really just have to change your mindset on things and try to attack each day of getting better and just know that you're going to play again one day. You want to come back as the player that you were. Make sure you come back when you feel healthy and you feel good enough that you feel confident enough in yourself to go back out there on the floor. Know that that day will come. And just like I said, attack each day. That's your assignment, to get back to the thing that you love to do.

Q. You seem pretty kind of stone-faced, even-keeled during games. Do you feel down the stretch of them the pressure, the stress, the nerves whatever you want to call it, in games with everything on the line in The Finals?
KAWHI LEONARD: Definitely. Even before it gets down to the stretch, you feel like you want to play great. You want to make the next shot or get the next stop. Like I said before about going through regular season and the playoffs, it's kind of your mind is into that already. You got to carry over from either the first possession to the last possession. You want to get a stop or a score. To really say at that time like, Oh, I feel so much pressure. You really don't. I think once your adrenaline is going, it's a lot different than you watching the game because your mindset is totally different. You're within that moment, and you're embracing it and enjoying what's going to happen next.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297