Raptors star Kawhi Leonard usually keeps details about his personal life close to his chest. The player, known for his calm and quiet demeanour, has made it tough for the world to get to know him throughout his career, despite his claims of being a “fun guy”. However, in a rare and unexpected moment during a press conference on Wednesday, Kawhi Leonard addressed his father's murder.
According to BBC, Kawhi’s father, Mark Leonard, was shot and killed in 2008. Mark Leonard was gunned down outside of the car wash that he owned in Compton, Los Angeles. His murder remains unsolved to this day. The NBA star was only 16 years old at the time of his father's death, and it had a profound effect on Kawhi's view of basketball.
"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," Leonard told the media, according to The Score.
It’s that enlightened mindset of living in the moment and not taking things too seriously that seems to have helped Leonard stay calm. Despite the mounting pressure of the NBA finals, and the Raptors now being just one win away from claiming their first-ever championship title.
"Just go out there and have fun," he said. "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."
Kawhi then talked a little about his values in life. "As long as your family is healthy, you're able to see the people that you love and you're able to walk, run, and you're not injured."
The Toronto Raptors will face off against the Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California for Game 6 tonight at 9:00 PM ET.