by Nick Hamilton (@NickHamiltonLA)
Orlando, FL — Los Angeles Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard appeared ready for his first team practice in the bubble, but beyond basketball he had something impactful to say.
While our country continues to go through protest standing up against racism, police brutality, and social injustice, many athletes have lent their voices to several causes to be heard around the world.
One player although the continues to perfect his craft, the two-time NBA champion Leonard never shied away from what affects him the most, the ability to uplift his community.
Recently the NBA approved a list of messages that players could wear on the back of their jerseys bringing awareness to social justice. Many players decided on what messages to use, but several including Lakers’ Lebron James and Anthony Davis opted out of the idea, as did Leonard with a slightly different message.
“We’re Black, we’ve been dealing with this situation,” Leonard explained his position on social injustice. “We’ve been giving back to our communities. It’s just broadcasted now that everybody has been in quarantine I believe. So it’s a big focal point on that when you’re at home watching the news. But I’m just going to continue to do what I’ve been doing, giving back to my community, educating my community and just keep going on from there.”
A healthy and often smiling Leonard talked basketball and state of the Clippers , perhaps the most important matter to him was making sure he continues to be a catalyst for change and growth in society.
“What’s happened, what everybody has been saying on the news, it’s been like [that] for me. I’ve been seeing those situations, so it’s nothing new to me, and I’m still going to continue to help and educate people as well as my teammates. It doesn’t matter if we have a statement on the back of our jersey, it’s about doing the work.”
From announcing giving a million backpacks away to one million LAUSD and Inglewood USD students, spending time with families in Riverside County (a suburb east of Los Angeles), to always giving back to the community in any way.
Leonard has been no stranger to making his presence felt throughout Los Angeles and Moreno Valley. He’s never been scared to venture south of the 10 freeway or go east or west of the 110 freeway in South Central L.A. That is more than I can say for some other L.A. basketball superstar since his arrival.
When we see Leonard along with Paul George and the Clippers host an introductory presser at a local community center amongst other areas, never doubt that Leonard is truly about the work on and off the court.
He may not say much publicly, but “The Fun Guy” is loud when it comes to community impact, which the display of a true champion and profound leader.