Kawhi Leonard was never meant to fill Tim Duncan’s giant shoes. But he gradually became the leader-in-waiting during Duncan’s final years. And now, the San Antonio Spurs are Leonard’s team.
There are no alpha males in the Spurs school of thought. But make no mistake about it: this is Kawhi Leonard’s team going forward.
Tim Duncan, the most selfless icon in sports history, preached the team-first philosophy that sowed the seeds for five championships over three decades and a record 17 successive seasons with at least 50 wins.
Duncan led like no leader before him.
“All Tim Duncan has to do is raise one of those arms, right or left, and he puts it on their shoulder, and it’s a warmth and a comfort they feel that allows them to become the best possible player they can be. He doesn’t wave a towel. He doesn’t give speeches. When he speaks it’s for a purpose,” Gregg Popovich said recently.
That’s the kind of leader Duncan was. He led on and off the court, created the environment that gave birth to co-leaders Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. And as Popovich so eloquently narrated, Duncan was always there for his teammates.
“(He) just came to work every day. Came early. Stayed late. Was there for every single person, from the top of the roster to the bottom of the roster because that’s who he was, in all those respects.”…..Read More