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Kawhi Leonard Still Drives a 1997 Chevy Tahoe Despite $94 Million Contract
Kawhi Leonard signed a huge contract last summer that essentially anointed him Tim Duncan‘s heir to the San Antonio Spurs dynasty. And that makes perfect sense, because Tim Duncan is basically Kawhi Leonard’s spirit animal.
I’m not talking about how they play the game, of course. In that regard Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan are nothing like each other. One’s a lumbering 6’11″ power forward, the other’s an athletic 6’7″ small forward.
But their personalities? Those were cut from the same cloth. Literally. Both guys are about as charismatic as a bolt of beige polyester. And both are pretty frugal despite being filthy rich.
A few years ago we learned that Tim Duncan is still wearing jeans he bought in 1999. This week, thanks to a new profile by Lee Jenkins in Sports Illustrated, we learned that Leonard still drives a 1997 Chevy Tahoe despite earning $16.4 million this season in the first year of his five-year, $94 million contract.
Also, Leonard endorses Wingstop for free wings:
A lot has changed for Leonard since that conversation with Pop—he was named Finals MVP in 2014, captured Defensive Player of the Year in ’15 and this season seized the unofficial title of best two-way player in the NBA—but a lot hasn’t. Leonard spends his summers in a two-bedroom apartment in San Diego, where he hangs a mini hoop over one door so he can play 21 against Castleberry. He carries a basketball in his backpack even when he isn’t going to the gym. He often drives a rehabbed ’97 Chevy Tahoe, nicknamed Gas Guzzler, which he drove across Southern California’s Inland Empire as a teenager. “It runs,” Leonard explains, “and it’s paid off.”
He is the only star still rocking cornrows, an outdated tribute to Carmelo Anthony, and he shrugs when friends claim he’d expand his endorsement portfolio if he shaved the braids. He is happy to sponsor Wingstop, which sends him coupons for free wings, so he can feed his Mango Habanero addiction. This winter, after his $94 million contract kicked in, he panicked when he lost his coupons. Wingstop generously replenished his supply.
Now, you should note that Jenkins says Leonard often drives a rehabbed ’97 Chevy Tahoe, meaning he doesn’t always drive a rehabbed ’97 Chevy Tahoe, meaning yeah, he has other vehicles. But the fact that he still drives a 19-year-old car at all still says a lot about him.
Hell, even my car is only 16 years old.
Hat Tip – [Sports Illustrated]