The Great Wall of China. Machu Picchu. The Taj Mahal. And Kawhi Leonard’s hands…
It’s no secret that basketball players are some of the most impressive physical specimens in the entire world. Not only are they enormously tall, but they are also extremely strong and explosive for their size.
While it’s expected that a person of this stature has fairly large hands, one player stands out among the rest: Kawhi Leonard. Let’s take a closer look at Kawhi Leonard’s hand size and what makes his set of paws so amazing.
Who Is Kawhi Leonard?
For those who are unaware, Kawai Leonard is a member of the Los Angeles Clippers and is one of the most renowned players in the NBA. In the years 2015 and 2016, he was awarded Defensive Player of The Year. He also boasts two All-NBA first-team selections, two NBA titles, and two NBA Finals MVP awards.
Those who have played in the NBA on opposing teams find Kawhi difficult to deal with in general due to his physical stature. He measures in at 6’7″, 225 pounds. Although there are far larger players in the league, he is notably quick and difficult to mark for long periods of time.
How Big Are Kawhi Leonard’s Hands?
Kawhi Leonard’s secret weapon are his big hands. To help put this into perspective, the average male has a hand size of 7.6 inches. This is measured from just below the crease in the palm to the tip of the middle finger.
This is also assuming that this individual stands at a height of approximately 5’9”.
Kawhi Leonard, in comparison, has hands that are 9.75 inches long when measured with the same method. This extra 2 inches of length are part of what makes him so effective at blocking shots and dunks.
Perhaps more impressive, however, is the overall span of his hands.
With his hand outstretched, the tip of his thumb to the tip of his pinky finger measures at 11.25 inches. With his hand fully extended, he has little trouble snatching an errant pass made by the other team or receiving one from his own.
The sheer size of his hands has even earned him the nickname “The Klaw.”
When it comes to mechanical leverage, having larger hands will give you a stronger grip on the ball. This means that players have a notably difficult time attempting to steal the ball away from him when it’s in his possession.
Although he doesn’t have the biggest hands in the league, many of the players who have larger hands than him are also far taller. During an interview, Leonard even compared his hand against that of Shaquille O’Neal — and it was almost just as large!
Once again, however, it makes sense for someone with O’Neill’s massive 7’1” frame to have enormously large hands.
When Has His Hand Size Come Into Play?
As you might guess, there have been numerous instances in which Leonard’s hands have been a major factor in a play or incident. After all, they’re notably hard to miss.
Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting.
The Middle Finger Block
During a game vs. the Denver Nuggets, Nuggets player Jamal Murray drove his way to the opposing team’s basket looking to secure a dunk. At the last possible moment, Leonard vaulted himself to meet Murray in midair and outstretched his hand in order to block the attack.
As Murray approached the basket with his hand ready to slam the ball, Leonard was able to make contact with the ball solely with his middle finger. This effort proved to be just enough to prevent Murray from securing the point.
The LA Clippers later went on to win the game as a direct result of this outstanding defensive play. This incident alone is often a reference people use to help put Leonard’s hand size and strength into perspective.
Palming the Ball off the Ground
It’s not unusual for an NBA player to palm a basketball due to their massive hand size. One incident, in particular, stands out for Kawhi Leonard.
During a 2019 game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Leonard fumbled the ball after receiving a pass from his teammate. After it fell to the ground, however, he was able to quickly pick it up off the floor with a single hand before driving to the basket.
The way in which he was able to gracefully accomplish this made it one of the highlights of this game, as not many players would be able to perform the same feat while surrounded by the opposing team’s defenders.
It’s not all good news for individuals with massive hand sizes. Kawhi Leonard himself has stated that the size of his hands sometimes prevents him from shooting the ball accurately.
More specifically, he complains that his hands are so large that the ball is often seated too deep within his palm by the time he is ready to take the shot. To help elaborate, he compares shooting a regulation-size basketball in the NBA to shooting a ball that would be used during a women’s basketball game.
Because the ball is small relative to his hand size, it’s harder to roll off the tips of his fingers, thus making him less accurate. But, he’s determined to improve this part of his game and become as well-rounded of a player as possible.
The Size of Kawhi Leonard’s Hands Makes Him Borderline Unstoppable
It’s also part of why he is such an amazing player to watch. So, keep the above information about Kawhi Leonard hands in mind next time you see him pull off a spectacular play.
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