Over the course of his basketball career, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant perfected his shooting form. The form on Bryant’s shot was as pretty as it comes in the NBA and something many have tried to emulate, including Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs.
Apparently, Spurs assistant coach Chip Engelland helped lead Leonard in the right direction in terms of improving his shooting form by using Bryant and Richard Jefferson as examples for the perennial All-Star, via Jonathan Abrams of B/R Mag:
“I used Richard [Jefferson] as a model and also used Kobe Bryant, because Kobe Bryant has really good shooting form. I didn’t know if Kawhi was a Laker fan or not or a Kobe fan, but you had to respect his work and his shooting. So, we used pictures and video of them. I showed him his pictures of where his was, similar to where Richard was. Kawhi’s smart, and he goes, ‘Let’s go to work, let’s do it.’”
The soft-spoken Leonard has gone from a role player in San Antonio to a legitimate superstar and arguably the best two-way player in the game today. Leonard seems to improve his game on both ends with every passing season and has helped keep the Spurs firing on all cylinders in the first year of the post-Tim Duncan era.
Leonard, who has become an elite player in the NBA, also wants to be mentioned in the same breath as Kobe Bryant someday. Longtime trainer Randy Shelton talked about Leonard’s work ethic and desire to be an all-time great in Abrams’ piece:
“He watches everyone—Hakeem [Olajuwon], Jordan. Ultimately, when he’s done, I’m not saying he’s chasing Jordan, but he wants to be mentioned up there with LeBron, Kobe, MJ, Hakeem, [Charles] Barkley. He wants to not be a top 50 all-timer. He wants to be a top 10, so that’s his goal.
“He’s definitely not driven by money, I’ll tell you that. He lives very humble. He wants to be a great all-time basketball player.”
As the Lakers look for their next superstar in the post-Kobe era, Leonard leads the charge for the Spurs without missing a beat. The 25-year-old forward is well on his way to creating a lasting legacy in San Antonio with one title and two NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards to his credit already.