Toronto Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard made headlines recently when his mantra “board man gets paid” went viral. His former teammates and coaching staff in San Diego State made the intriguing revelation, and now, Leonard had the chance to explain the meaning behind the saying.
As noted by Ben Golliver of the Washington post, the motto basically refers to outrebounding the opponent. For Leonard, “it’s about working hard” and “outworking the opponent,” emphasizing that rebounds help win games.
Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard explains his now-famous ‘Board man gets paid’ mantra: “It’s about working hard, basically, outworking the opponent. Rebounds help you win games.” pic.twitter.com/s8qgdVF56l
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) June 6, 2019
Standing 6-foot-7 and playing either the shooting guard or small forward spot, Leonard is an amazing rebounder. In fact, this was what scouts liked about him when he was in college. His defense was already noticeable, but it was his rebounding that got their attention.
In his freshman year at San Diego State, he averaged an impressive 9.9 rebounds. Come his sophomore year, it ticked up to 10.4 boards. In his NBA career so far, the 27-year-old is averaging 6.3 rebounds per contest. His career-best average is 7.3 boards which he did in the 2018-2019 regular season.
Without a doubt, Leonard has lived up to his mantra. Much has been said about his big hands which gives him the ability to steal the ball and block shots, but his rebounding numbers reveal a different dimension on Leonard’s game.