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Kawhi Leonard: It’s ‘special’ winning on Father’s Day after dad’s death

Kawhi Leonard Kawhi Leonard separated himself in the NBA Finals by blowing up in the last three games of the series to help the San Antonio Spurs beat the Miami Heat in five games. For his efforts throughout the series — especially Games 3-5 — Leonard was named NBA Finals MVP.

In addition to validating a lifetime of hard work, what made winning the award so special was the timing; Leonard won his first NBA championship and NBA Finals MVP on Father’s Day, six years after his father was killed.

Leonard’s dad, Mark, was shot and killed outside his car wash in Compton at the age of 43. Kawhi was 16 at the time and played in a high school game for King (Riverside, Calif.) against Dominguez (Compton, Calif.) a day later.

“It is a very special meaning for me,” Leonard said in his postgame press conference when asked about winning Finals MVP on Father’s Day. “Knowing that [my dad] is gone and being able to win a championship on Father’s Day … I’m just happy just winning a championship.”

Whether you believe him or not, Kawhi said that he wasn’t thinking about his father.

“My dad died six years ago, and I really wasn’t thinking about him that much.”

Leonard doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would share his true feelings with the media, so I’m not sure I completely buy that.

Winning on Father’s Day has to be a great feeling for him. And what’s best is that he really earned the championship and Finals MVP. He shot 61.2 percent from the field and 57.9 percent on threes during the Finals, and he averaged 17.8 points, a block and 1.6 steals per game. Most importantly, he played extremely tough defense on LeBron James.

At 22, Kawhi became the youngest Finals MVP since Magic Johnson. He has the look of a future star.

Kawhi Leonard drops monster dunk on Serge Ibaka (Video)

Kawhi Leonard dunkKawhi Leonard started off Game 6 of the Western Conference finals on Saturday with an emphatic statement.

After spinning past Kevin Durant in the first quarter, Leonard went straight to the rack and powered over Serge Ibaka for a huge dunk.

This is nothing new for “Sugar K,” who also had a big dunk in Game 3 against OKC:

Kawhi Leonard dunks on Mike Miller something nasty (Video)

Kawhi Leonard dunked on Mike Miller something nasty during Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night.

The San Antonio Spurs had a fastbreak midway through the first quarter, and Tony Parker threw a bounce pass to Leonard, who was running the floor up ahead. Miller did his part to try stopping the dunk — hey, they were facing elimination — but his efforts were of little help. Leonard just literally pushed his face aside and completed the monster jam.

Jeff Van Gundy said Leonard took the elevator to the top floor, but we only need one word to describe it: a facial.

Here’s the image for your poster:

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A Beginner’s Guide to the 2011 NBA Draft: Profiles on All the Top Prospects

Reading NBA draft previews sometimes feels like wading through Princess Bride-style quicksand. With so many names to remember and stats to sift through, it can be hard to figure out what draft info is important and what’s just unnecessary nonsense.

Do you care as a casual fan, for instance, that Enes Kanter has 5.9% body fat? Or that Marcus Morris can run three quarters of the court in 3.2 seconds whereas his twin brother, Markieff, runs it in 3.4 seconds? Not really, right?

You just want the basics. Which is why I wrote this beginner’s guide.

Draft lunatics will already know most of what is written below. It’s not quantum physics, just a good starting place for people staring at the screen on draft night wondering “who is that guy?”

If you’re here for insight into Nikola Vucevic’s standing reach, you’ve come to the wrong place. But if cheat sheet info delivered in 100 words or less is your thing, I’m your guy. You won’t find any quicksand here.

Here’s my Cliff Notes-style guide to the 2011 NBA draft:

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