In an interview with My San Antonio, Kawhi Leonard has made it very clear what he is gunning for this season - another NBA title ring.
The Spurs forward has improved greatly every season since joining the team in a draft night trade with the Indiana Pacers in 2011, and this season he is on course for his first All-Star team selection.
“In 2014 I wasn’t an All-Star or Defensive Player of the Year. If I can get back and win a championship, that’s what I’m trying to do” Kawhi told the press.
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"I just want (another) one of those up there" he said whilst pointing to the Spurs championship banners.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich wasn't surprised by Leonards comments:
"that sounds like him...," said the veteran coach. "He really is more interested in winning than he is with (individual awards). He’s a really selfless kind of guy...It’s not about him in any way, shape, or form. It’s always been about the group.”
Popovich has been blessed with some of the most humble players to play the game, a list that includes Tim Duncan, David Robinson and of course Leonard.
Not one for the limelight
Leonard fits in perfectly with the Spurs' philosophy of staying out of the glare of the national media.
The 'Big Three' consisting of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili made a name for doing their talking out on the court, and Kawhi does the same. The 2014 NBA Finals MVP is known for his tenacious defense and non-stop effort on both ends of the floor.
"I’m not one of the guys in the league for the fame,” Leonard said.
“I’m here so I can take of my family, my mom, my friends and take care of myself. I love the game of basketball and as long as I can do that, keep playing and try to get some more championships with the organization, I’ll be happy.
"I don’t care about winning an MVP – the MVP doesn’t mean you’re the best player in the league."
But as the Big Three come to the twilight of their careers there is more emphasis than ever for Leonard to become the star of the team.
The recent addition of LaMarcus Aldridge means that the team will remain relevant in the title picture even after Duncan, Parker and Ginobili hang them up and now Kawhi must come into his own.
If he can improve once again on a stellar season then there is no doubt that San Antonio will be playing deep into the playoffs.