Kawhi Leonard may have only played one season for the Toronto Raptors, but he certainly left his mark in his short tenure with the Canadian franchise by leading Raptors to their first ever NBA championship while picking up his second NBA Finals MVP Award along the way.

Leonard was superb in the 2019 Finals as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games. Many had expected the Warriors to continue their dynasty having won two championships in a row and three of the last four, but Leonard and the Raptors had other ideas. Leonard led the way in a decisive Game 6, notching 22 points, six boards and three assists in the 114-110 win to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy. For the entire series, Leonard averaged 28.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals – a strong resume that earned him the honor of being named the 2019 NBA Finals MVP. 

Among the panelists tasked with voting on the NBA Finals MVP, only one voter did not select Leonard – choosing to go with substitute Fred VanVleet instead.

But perhaps his most memorable moment of the 2019 postseason came before the Finals even tipped off. In a game against the Philadelphia 76ers with a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals on the line, finding himself in the right corner with heavy defense, Leonard heaved up a shot that seemed to roll on the rim for an eternity before dropping through the hoop, sending Raptors fans in a frenzy and paving the way for their first NBA title.

Leonard shocked the basketball world when he demanded a trade from the San Antonio Spurs, whom he had led to a championship in 2014 when the Spurs defeated the Miami Heat in five games. Leonard was also named the NBA Finals MVP in that series, finishing with averages of 17.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Leonard made more waves following the 2019 championship by leaving Toronto to join the Los Angeles Clippers, who are building around their new superstar. The Clippers hope that Leonard will be able to help their franchise the way he helped Toronto. Like Toronto, the Clippers have not won an NBA Championship before the arrival of Leonard. Whether that will change remains to be seen.

With his two Finals MVP Awards, Leonard joins a rare group of stars that have won the award multiple times: Michael Jordan (6), Magic Johnson (3), Shaquille O’Neal (3), Tim Duncan (3), LeBron James (3), Willis Reed (2), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2), Larry Bird (2), Hakeem Olajuwon (2), Kobe Bryant (2), Kevin Durant (2) and now Leonard (2).

Leonard is also one of three players who have been named the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals on separate teams, joining Abdul-Jabbar (Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers) and LeBron James (Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers).

Leonard now has two NBA championship titles, two NBA Finals MVP Awards and two Defensive Player of the Year Awards in his trophy case, and at just 28 years old, the sky seems to be the limit for this dominant forward. 

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