Raptors Lead

Kawhi Leonard, “The Infamous Dynasty Killer”

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Behind the profile of every true serial killer are certain personality traits that each have in common.

According to profiling experts, they are considered by others to be somewhat anti-social and emotionless. They exhibit a calm, purposeful but predatory behavior, which is eerily distinguished by a lack of a rage. They lack empathy for their victims and do not exhibit remorse for their actions. Most notably, they tend to kill multiple victims with a distinctive signature pattern.

Kawhi Leonard could very well be considered the basketball version of a serial killer.

(Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

The oft-times emotionless and seemingly anti-social leader of the Toronto Raptors definitely exhibits a calm but predatory nature. Off the court, he displays very little emotion with fans, teammates, and especially the media. On the court, Leonard is a steely-eyed assassin who carefully studies and dissects his victims (sorry…opponents) before he eliminates them. While the real Kawhi Leonard is by no means a violent sociopath, yet for all intents and purposes, he plays like one on the basketball court.

He appears to suffer from the same “disease” that has plagued a rare number of players throughout the history of basketball (i.e.. Bird, MJ, Kobe, Duncan), who have seemingly been cut from this same killer cloth. This disease is a borderline-pathological competitive desire to win, be the best to do it and knock off anyone standing in their way of accomplishing it. However, Leonard is a particularly unique kind of killer unlike the basketball world has ever seen.

You see, what makes Leonard even more special among this rare group of basketball sociopaths is the rare feat he accomplished on his bloody run to a new title… and I don’t mean the title of 2019 NBA Champion.

“The Klaw”

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Some of the most infamous killers were known by a single moniker and some were known by more than one name. Jack the Ripper, The Grim Sleeper, Doctor Death and the Night Stalker are just a few of the most notorious nicknames in history.

Leonard’s nickname – “The Klaw” – originated during his time in San Antonio and is derived from a combination of his defensive prowess and massive hands. In fact, Leonard’s hand measures 11.25 inches across and 9.75 inches long, which is 52% wider than the average man’s hand. He’s become a recognizable brand in the industry by refusing to follow the same trends of others and paving his own path. He doesn’t seek to share the limelight of other killer stars before him. He prefers to let his handy-work speak for him.

“The Board Man”

In addition to winning the championship title this year, Leonard’s 2019 postseason run was one of the most memorable in NBA history. He finished with the 3rd most points in a single postseason, trailing only Michael Jordan and LeBron James. “In addition to his place in all-time history with his scoring averages, Leonard has also tied Kobe Bryant and LeBron James for most 30-point games in a single postseason in the past 10 years with 14, just two shy of Jordan’s all-time record of 16.”

After Game 4 of the Finals, Leonard made the following comments; “I don’t play hero basketball, I’m not playing for fans. I’m just playing to win. I’m not out here trying to break records. As long as I try to help my team win, I’m satisfied.”

Leonard accomplished his incredible scoring run while playing with an injured knee, which limited his mobility. Yet, just like a horror movie killer, he tirelessly and relentlessly attacked his victims. Perhaps the title of “The Board Man” is even more appropriate now, because of the numbers he posted during this historical postseason run.

“The Infamous Dynasty Killer”

During these 2019 NBA Finals, Leonard and his Raptors team dismembered the Golden State Warriors – effectively killing the franchises’ hopes of a three-peat title and, quite possibly, their perennial championship dynasty. He was also named the 2019 NBA Finals MVP by defeating consecutive two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, who many consider to be the best shooter and, arguably, the best player in the game. Having strangled the hopes of another championship for the Golden State Warriors with his terrifying skill and ability, Kawhi “The Klaw” Leonard may have put the final nail in the coffin of one of the greatest dynasties in the sport. However, Curry and the Dubs were not his only victim.

Leonard also led the San Antonio Spurs to the 2014 NBA Championship, by killing the three-peat attempt of another dynasty. The Miami Heat – led by the big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh -were the last dynasty to be victimized by “The Klaw”. In that series, he led the Spurs to another NBA Finals Championship against the defending two-time NBA champions. Leonard also won the first of his now two Finals MVP’s by defeating the games’ best player and consecutive league MVP, LeBron James.

Two dominate teams attempting to execute the rare and difficult task of a three-peat championship, both led by a multi-time MVP considered to be the best player in the game. Both victimized at the hands of “The Klaw”.

(Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)

In addition to killing the historical championship aspirations of those two great basketball dynasties, some might say that he killed another dynasty when he requested and was granted a trade from the San Antonio Spurs – where his professional basketball “killing spree” began. He may have single-handily destroyed any hope for San Antonio to challenge the Warriors dominance in the West and to continue their own dynasty.

Despite the disreputable image he obtained sitting out most of last season with the Spurs, the Raptors took a risk in acquiring him last summer and placing their championship aspirations within his incredibly large and powerful hands. Now he returns to Toronto holding both the Championship and Finals MVP trophies and holds the future of the franchise in his hands. Will “The Klaw” crush them or continue on with them in building a potential dynasty of their own?

Make no mistake about it, Kawhi Leonard is an enigma. An anti-social, emotionally distant individual, who seems to lack empathy or remorsefulness, yet demonstrates a calm but predatory behavior and leaves a trail of multiple victims using his distinctive signature pattern. This profile describes no other player in basketball history any better than Kawhi Leonard and is fitting of his new title; “The Infamous Dynasty Killer”.

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About Ben Rodriguez

NBA league analyst and Chicago Bulls basketball writer. A true Bulls fan since the Jordan era and long after.

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