Kawhi Leonard was named the 2019 Male Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press. Leonard beat out for the honor Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tennis superstar Rafael Nadal, in addition to reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Kawhi is only the fifth NBA player to win the award. The previous four NBA players includes Larry Bird (1983), Michael Jordan (1991, 1992, 1993), LeBron James (2013, 2016, 2018) and Stephen Curry (2015), all Hall-Of-Famers or future Hall-Of-Famers.
The decision by the AP was revealed after the Clippers beat the Lakers on Christmas Day for the second time this season in as many games played.
Kawhi captivated the basketball world after bringing the Toronto Raptors their first and only NBA title by defeating the Golden State Warriors last season. Leonard was named Finals MVP after averaging 28.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. The bigger story eventually could be how Kawhi possibly could propel the Clippers to becoming LA’s favorite team.