JJ Redick was being guarded by Kawhi Leonard during a playoff game, and reveals how unbelievably strong his counterpart was.
We all know Kawhi Leonard as the fun guy who famously load manages during the regular season. Drafted as an athletic defensive-minded wing, he learnt how to shoot along the way, and is now regarded as the best 2-way player in the NBA.
The 2-time Finals MVP had the opportunity to develop under the tutelage of legends like Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan. In addition to that however, Kawhi’s physical and mental attributes are the ones which separated him from the field.
One such incident exemplifies the sheer core strength and ability of the former DPOY. JJ Redick recently revealed on his podcast ‘The Old Man and the Three’ how he discovered that Kawhi was an unforeseen physical specimen.
During a play, JJ had lightly tapped Kawhi on his stomach, and he remembers thinking how it felt as hard as metal. “I tapped (Kawhi) on his stomach and (thought) to myself, ‘I just touched a robot… This MF is BUILT.” This is definitely a flattering compliment for someone who has been in the league for 15 years, having encountered 100s of players.
Sacramento Kings sophomore Tyrese Haliburton also talked about his ‘Welcome to the NBA’ moment involving Kawhi Leonard.
Tyrese Haliburton also revealed how he found out about the strength Kawhi possessed. During a dribble hand-off against the LA Clippers, Kawhi had one hand on Tyrese’s hip when he was apparently standing near the 3-PT arc.
Tyrese remarked, “When I get the hand off, I look down, I’m at the logo. I’m like, ‘I don’t even know how I got out here.’” Just one swift defensive push was enough for Kawhi to knock off a 6’5″, 185 lb guy a couple of feet down to center court. Talk about core strength.
Kawhi is currently in rehab after undergoing surgery for an ACL tear sustained in the playoffs against the Utah Jazz. His return is expected to be near the end of season, and we hope we can catch a glimpse of the superstar again as soon as possible.