High school career
Leonard attended Martin Luther King High School in his hometown Riverside, California, where he, along with Tony Snell (currently with the Chicago Bulls) led the Wolves to a 30-3 season and a national rank of seventh in the MaxPreps/National Guard computer rankings. In 2009, as a senior, he was named Mr. Basketball California, and was ranked the #48 prospect in the nation by Rivals.com.
Freshman season (2009–2010)
As a freshman at San Diego State, Leonard averaged 12.7 points per game and 9.9 rebounds along with shooting 45.5% from the field. Leonard was the 2010 Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament MVP, first team all MWC Conference selection and led the MWC in rebounding. Leonard led the Aztecs to a 25–9 record including a 11–5 record in the MWC to make the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. San Diego State faced Tennessee in the first round and lost 62–59 as Leonard scored 12 points and added 10 rebounds.
Sophomore season (2010–2011)
As a sophomore, Leonard stood out for the Aztecs as he averaged 15.7 points per game along with 10.4 rebounds. He was picked to the Second Team All-America by Fox Sports, and helped lead SDSU to a 34–3 record, and a trip to the Sweet 16. Leonard could not guide the Aztecs past eventual national champion UConn. In addition to getting to the tournament, Leonard helped guide his SDSU Aztecs to back to back Mountain West Championships.
San Antonio Spurs (2011–present)
He was drafted 15th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers, but was traded to the San Antonio Spurs shortly thereafter, along with the rights to Erazem Lorbek and the 42nd overall pick Davis Bertans in exchange for George Hill. Leonard signed with the Spurs just after the NBA lockout had ended.
After starting shooting guard Manu Ginobili broke his hand in early January, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich named Leonard the tentative starter in Ginobili's absence. Leonard and teammate Tiago Splitter were selected to play in the 2012 Rising Stars Challenge as members of Team Chuck. Although he suited for the event, he did not play due to a calf strain. With Richard Jefferson traded to the Golden State Warriors for Stephen Jackson, Leonard was promoted to the starting small forward position, while Jackson served as his backup.
In his first year Leonard placed fourth in Rookie of the Year voting, receiving 47 votes, and was named to the NBA's 2011–12 All-Rookie First Team. "“I think he’s going to be a star. And as time goes on, he’ll be the face of the Spurs, I think. At both ends of the court, he is really a special player. And what makes me be so confident about him is that he wants it so badly. He wants to be a good player, I mean a great player. He comes early, he stays late, and he’s coachable, he’s just like a sponge. When you consider he’s only had (two years) of college and no training camp yet, you can see that he’s going to be something else.” —Coach Gregg Popovich on Kawhi Leonard. In the off-season, Leonard and DeJuan Blair were chosen to play for the 2012 USA Men's Select Team. The team also included Kyrie Irving, John Wall, and Paul George, among others. They trained with the eventual gold medal winners, the 2012 United States men's Olympic basketball team, which featured Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul, among others.
On October 26, 2012, the Spurs exercised team options on Leonard and Cory Joseph and signed both through the 2013–14 season.
Early in the season, Leonard suffered from knee tendinitis, which kept him out for about a month.
On February 11, 2013, on a night in which Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili were all out with injury, and Stephen Jackson was unavailable because of personal business, Leonard led the short-handed Spurs against the Chicago Bulls with a career-high 26 points. On February 13, 2013, Leonard hit a game-winning three to give the Spurs the victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Leonard was one of the sophomores selected to play for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, and was drafted by Charles Barkley once again as part of Team Chuck on February 7. He scored 20 points, and grabbed 7 rebounds as Team Chuck went on to defeat Team Shaq for the second straight year 163–135.
Leonard made his first NBA Finals appearance in 2013 against the Miami Heat, and averaged 14.6 ppg and 11.1 rpg, with four double-doubles. In game 7, Leonard had 19 points and 16 rebounds. Unfortunately, the Spurs lost the series.
- Height: 6'7" (201 cm)
- Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)
- Armspan: 7'3"
- Vertical leap: 32 inches
- Hands: 11 ½ inches
NBA career statistics
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|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|