MJ had some pretty high praise for the consensus third best player……at his position
When the GOAT talks, you listen.
Were the playoffs a sign of things to come? Mike sure thinks so
A few years ago, Nike began releasing fun and trendy commercials that took the basketball world by storm. They generated millions of hits on YouTube and for once, you actually wanted to a watch a commercial. So of course, for some profound reason, Nike pulled them.
However, times are a-changin. The NFL has seen a decline in popularity and viewership and coupled with one of the most dramatic NBA offseasons in recent memory, Adam Silver’s progeny has risen to the forefront of American sports.
In response, Nike has begun churning out ads once again. They started off with a double-edged sword, which sent a congratulatory message to Kevin Durant as well as a shot at all of his haters. It was a typical Swoosh commercial, satirical and thoughtful while remaining true to the sport. However that one lacked that umph factor. Rest assured, their latest product had exactly that.
Formatted as a speech and debate tournament, two fans argued whether the Klaw was better on offense or defense. They went back and forth over all his accolades while a highlight reel plays itself out onscreen. In the end, a question was asked to viewers. The Kawhi Leonard Question.
Is Leonard better on offense or defense? Twitter went crazy as people debated which side of the ball he excelled on more. You could certainly stake your claim on all the accolades he has accumulated through his defensive efforts, but after the offensive masterpiece he put on display during the playoffs, critics seriously had to question whether his offensive abilities has surpassed his lockdown capabilities. However, if you ask the Jumpman himself, the real question isn’t a matter of if, its a matter of and.
When asked at a local camp about the Kawhi Question, Michael Jordan threw fuel on the fire by proposing an entirely new topic for junkies to debate on, claiming that Leonard “is the best two-way player in the game right now.” Let chaos reign.
Its hard to dispute the statement considering everything Leonard has done so far. NBA champion and Finals MVP in 2014. A two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year 2015 and 2016, as well as a finalist this year.
Two-time NBA All-Star (2016, 2017, two-time All-NBA First Team (2016, 2017), three-time NBA All-Defensive First Team (2015–2017). The list goes on and on for the former Aztec and thats just on defense. He finished 3rd in PER (Player Efficiency Rating) and MVP voting and netted top-10 finishes in defensive rating, EWA (Estimated Wins Added) and VA (Value Added). He only had a 7.9% turnover rate. Need I say more?
Yet, the consensus (outside of San Diego) remains that he is largely considered the third best player at his position, let alone in the game. Taking that into consideration, it’s a pretty bold statement from MJ. Kawhi has never been desperate for attention like Lavar, never been a drama queen like LeBron and never been a top jersey seller like Steph. But maybe, that’s why he has the respect of Mike.
In an NBA where breaking news and controversy is king, a small market player who simply plays to win will never be anyone’s favorite. However, considering the impressive trophy case he’s been stockpiling, maybe more kids will want to be like Kawhi. Maybe Jordan just said that to get his brand athlete some more publicity, especially since he knows Leonard would never advocate for himself. After all, the Kawhi Question was technically a Jordan commercial (Jordan is owned and distributed by Nike).
That situation seems unlikely though. Jordan has never been one to sugarcoat things and Leonard is the same. Perhaps, thats why Jordan Brand decided to signLeonard in the first place. Maybe MJ sees himself in Leonard. From Riverside King to SDSU to the Spurs, Leonard has consistently done two things. He’s played ball and he’s won.
And that is why he is the best two way player in the game. He’s perfected both sides of his game so he can be just like Jordan. A winner. Aztec fans should be proud.