Kawhi Leonard has been announced as The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for 2019.
Kawhi Leonard is The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for 2019. Read more: https://t.co/R2zUSMzgwh pic.twitter.com/G6Utyk4C0W- AP Sports (@AP_Sports) December 27, 2019
It was a remarkable calendar year for Leonard, as he put behind him a controversial final 12 months in San Antonio to lead the Toronto Raptors to a historic NBA Championship over the Golden State Warriors.
Leonard would average 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists across 24 playoff appearances that culminated in him winning his second NBA Finals MVP award, cementing his legacy as one of the modern playoff greats.
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Of course, the incredible playoff run also included 'the shot', an incredible buzzer-beating, series-ending, fadeaway jumper from the right corner over the Philadelphia 76ers to send the Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Leonard becomes just the fifth NBA player to be awarded the AP male athlete of the year, joining Larry Bird (1986), Michael Jordan (1991-93), LeBron James (2013, 2016, 2018) and Steph Curry (2015).
According to AP, there were 18 vote-getters all, with Leonard receiving twice as many votes as the second-place Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL. Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs was third.
Now a member of the LA Clippers, Leonard is once again the star player on a Championship contender, recently scoring 35 points in a marquee Christmas Day win over LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
2019 was most certainly the year of Kawhi, and the attention has now turned to whether he can become a three-time NBA Champion - with three different franchises no less.