Kawhi Leonard had a special relationship with Kobe Bryant, so it's fitting that the Los Angeles Clippers star was the first player to win the Kobe Bryant MVP Award at the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night.
The Clippers forward led Team LeBron to a 157-155 win over Team Giannis at the All-Star Game in Chicago. Following the game, Kawhi told a hilariously fitting story about Bryant.
"We were talking, and he was competitive, and he was like, 'How many shots have you shot in a game?' And I was like, 'What you mean?' And (he said), 'How many shot attempts have you shot?' And I was like, 'My highest?' And he said, 'Yeah.' I was like, 'I probably shot 19 times.' And then he goes, 'Guess how many times I've shot...I shot it 47 times.'"
Leonard, a California native, grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant. He spent time working out with Bryant last offseason.
The Clippers star might not have shot it as much as Kobe would have tonight, but he still put up some serious numbers. Leonard poured in 30 points on 11 of 18 shooting, including 8 of 14 from the 3-point line.
Leonard dedicated his MVP award to Bryant.
"I want to thank Kobe for everything he's done for me. All the long talks and workouts. Thank you. This one's for him," he said.