Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard has always been known for being somewhat stoic. While the 29-year-old has offered occasional glimpses into his personality over the years, generally he is recognized for being apathetic and kind of unconcerned about the things happening around him.
This week, Leonard once again lived up to his unemotional reputation when new Clippers forward Serge Ibaka told the story of how Leonard pitched him on joining the team. It’s best to read the message in Leonard’s voice to achieve max hilarity.
“Hey, what’s up?” Leonard texted Ibaka. “Are you coming or no?”
That’s it. That was the pitch.
“Hey, what’s up? Are you coming or no?”
Kawhi recruited @sergeibaka to the Clippers in the most Kawhi way possible 😂
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) December 3, 2020
On a serious note, adding Ibaka provided the Clippers with a huge boost. After losing Montrezl Harrell the team desperately needed to acquire some size, and that is precisely what they ended up doing.
Ibaka brings strength and toughness to the middle, as well as a veteran presence that is invaluable on championship-contending squads.
Last year Ibaka averaged 15.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game with the Toronto Raptors, while also shooting nearly 39 percent from beyond the arc.
With the Los Angeles Lakers adding Harrell and Marc Gasol, Ibaka being available to bang down low is going to be crucial.
Here’s everything that was inside the $300,000 Prada bag James Harden gave Lil Baby. https://t.co/iyLKyB0RoI
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 4, 2020
Leonard and Ibaka obviously enjoyed immense success in their one year together on the Raptors. On their way to winning a title, they also proved to be very productive when playing at the same time. The Raptors were 12.6 points better than their opponents per 100 possessions whenever they were both in the lineup.
“Kawhi is the type of person, you got to know him personally to understand,” Ibaka said this week.
“From far, I see a lot of people say different things, even me, myself, but when you approach him and you spend time with him you understand him, you know he’s that type of guy. It just happened naturally, we just understand.
Yikes Scottie. https://t.co/OfGjnOyWpP
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 3, 2020
“One thing about me and Kawhi is like, there is no ego in our friendship. We don’t have an ego. I know who he is and he know as a teammate what I can do for him, for the team and it is make things smoother and easier.”
While Ibaka doesn’t guarantee that the Clippers will win a championship next year, he certainly puts the organization in a much better position to do so.
Will it be enough to get past the Lakers? Time will tell.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.