LA Clippers: Kawhi Leonard, mind games, and The Art of War

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Lou Williams of the LA Clippers recently revealed that Kawhi Leonard is an active and vocal leader for the team, despite his quiet reputation. It got us thinking: is Kawhi playing mental chess with the NBA?

Quick, what are the first two things that come to mind when you think about LA Clippers star Kawhi Leonard?

Hopefully, the first thing you thought is that he’s a fantastic basketball player, one of the best in the NBA today. He is a true two-way superstar who can do it all on both ends of the floor. The second thing you might have thought is that he also seems to be a quiet, somewhat awkward guy.

If his teammate Lou Williams is telling the truth, the second thought may have been planted into your brain, Inception-style, by none other than Leonard himself.


Williams recently told the WYD? show with ESPN’s Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, that Kawhi is a vocal leader on and off, the floor, despite his reputation.

“Kawhi talks the most in our group chats, believe it or not,” Williams spilled. “The dude is a leader. I don’t know where he got pegged as this guy that doesn’t talk or whatever. I think he’s trolling a little bit when he does that. But the dude is a leader. He leads by example, he’s active in the group chats, he’s active with his workout stuff, and everybody communicates.”

Williams’ belief that Kawhi is trolling by cultivating a reputation for being quiet got us thinking: is Leonard ten steps ahead of everybody else mentally? Is he out here playing chess while the rest of us are playing checkers?

His deception brings to mind famous military strategist Sun Tzu and his words from The Art of War : “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

In other words, when we are a strong, vocal, active leader, we must appear to be quiet, meek, and awkward.

We wanted to take a look at some other quotes from The Art of War and how they relate to Kawhi Leonard, his game, and his so-called “trolling” of the rest of the NBA.