Kawhi Leonard admits winning the Kobe Bryant MVP Award at the NBA All-Star Game was a “very special” honour.
The Los Angeles Clippers superstar scored a game-high 30 points during 20 minutes on the court at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Leonard’s return earned him the MVP prize named in Bryant’s honour following the NBA legend’s tragic death in a helicopter crash last month.
“It's very special,” he said. “Like I said, I had a relationship with him.
“Words can't explain how happy I am for it. Able to put that trophy in my room, in my trophy room, and just be able to see Kobe's name on there, it just means a lot to me.
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“He's a big inspiration in my life. He did a lot for me.”
Leonard’s Clippers are looking good for the postseason playoffs, with many pundits tipping the team to win their maiden NBA Championship, and he is planning to dedicate any success to Bryant.
He said: “I pretty much carry that every year, you know what I mean? I'm going to play hard. That's what I do. I want to go in and win every game. Whatever happens, happens from there. I would dedicate anything to him.”
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Leonard has never been named the regular season MVP despite winning two Championship titles and two NBA Finals MVP Awards.
Despite the Clippers load managing his schedule, the 28-year-old is among the contenders to win the crown.
Leonard, however, is putting the team ahead of individual honours in a similar fashion to how he led the Toronto Raptors to glory last season.
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“Yeah, I mean, my mindset is always just to try to make my team the best team at the end of the season, and if I'm fortunate enough to win a regular season MVP, then I'll be happy with it,” he admitted.
“I always just want to win championships. I'm not really concerned with the personal goal. So I always just want to play on an MVP level so my team can win.”
NBA Saturdays presented by NBA2K20 on Sky Sports – part of a record 48 Primetime games live on Sky Sports starting from 7.00pm every weekend. This week on 22 February the LA Clippers host the Sacramento Kings on Sky Sports Arena from 8.30pm.
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