Los Angeles Clippers ahead Kawhi Leonard is a top-five participant within the NBA when wholesome and has confirmed his greatness amongst The Association’s all-time greats, as he was named to the NBA seventy fifth anniversary staff final season. Another member of the seventy fifth Anniversary squad is a large fan of Leonard’s sport. That member is none aside from ABA and NBA legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving.
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Erving hasn’t been shy in expressing his admiration for Leonard.
“Kawhi is my favorite NBA player,” Erving said. “Absolutely.”
“I’ll tell you what, it’s kind of like a mutual admiration,” Erving mentioned. “I really admire him, I haven’t sat down or had dinner with him or lunch or anything like that. We connected All-Star weekend during the Top 75 [celebration]. It’s always just a cordiality there because he’s a favorite guy that I like to watch in the NBA. So I’ve gone on record and saying that I don’t know if he’s heard about it or not.”
Anyone can perceive why Leonard may be a former participant’s present favourite. During his profession, Kawhi has been one in every of, if not the highest two-way participant at sure factors and seemingly a mannequin citizen off the court docket. He hasn’t been concerned in any off-the-court scandal. Aside from the Clippers signing “scandal” surrounding his acquisition in 2019, Leonard has skilled little damaging publicity.
Oh, then there’s additionally the matter of participant load administration. A motion by which Kawhi has been anointed the poster youngster. This has been a factor going again to Leonard’s days beneath Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. During the Spurs’ future, coach Pop was infamous for sitting his stars in the course of the season irrespective of how massive the sport or opponent was.
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That brings us again to Dr. J, and Leonard being his favourite participant. In the previous, Erving has spoken on load administration and his lower than fond emotions for this “new innovation.”
“Load management is a new innovation, and I think it’s endorsed by the officials, by the owners, board of governors. Everybody is in it, and somebody needs to be against it, too, and I am the one against it.” mentioned Erving on his emotions towards load administration throughout an look on Chris Haynes’ Posted Up podcast in 2021.
I’m unsure if it’s dawned on Mr. Erving, however Kawhi is, in most individuals’s opinion, the principle wrongdoer on this innovation generally known as load administration. He’s hardly the one one, however might be essentially the most egregious offender (amongst gamers) over the previous decade. Obviously, we’re not together with reputable harm time. But Leonard hasn’t approached 70 video games because the 2016-17 marketing campaign in San Antonio.
Kawhi missed all however 9 video games the next season with a quad harm earlier than forcing a commerce to Toronto that offseason. During that 2018-19 championship yr with the Raptors, Leonard performed in simply 60 video games and was primarily wholesome. He was spectacular when he performed that yr and capped it off by bringing Toronto its first NBA Championship. So most individuals, particularly Raptors followers, have forgiven Kawhi for sitting out greater than 20 video games.
Apparently, Dr. J has additionally forgiven this or simply plain forgot it since he’s such a giant fan of Leonard’s. Many older era gamers have come out towards gamers sitting out video games for no higher cause than ‘rest.’ Players from 30 years in the past didn’t make almost the identical cash nor had the identical benefits in coaching and medical know-how as immediately’s crop of gamers. So, it’s simple to see how the older era of legends may need robust opinions on the topic.
It’s unusual listening to Dr. J identify Kawhi his favourite, figuring out he’s been outspoken towards participant’s load managing. That feels a bit of oxymoronic. Then once more, when so many star gamers and coaches make the most of the identical tactic as Popovich and Leonard, it narrows the sector a bit in selecting a favourite participant.