Kawhi Leonard is the most straight-up basketball player in the NBA. He isn't looking to manipulate officials in any way, neither with unnatural movements nor whiny reactions that are meant to, perhaps, influence the next call. You whistle Leonard for a foul, whether it was a correct call or an atrocious call, and he just stops and jogs back the other way.
The man is so honest, now he's even calling his own teammates for fouls.
On Wednesday night, Clippers shooter Eric Gordon got Golden State's Jonathan Kuminga in the air as he closed out hard on Gordon's 3-point attempt. Gordon initiated the old jump sideways into Kuminga, which was an automatic defensive foul in the past. But now the NBA, thankfully, cracks down on these ridiculously unnatural shooting motions.
Upon hearing the whistle, watch Leonard on the opposite side immediately motion to the other end of the court, as if to say, "Yeah, that one's going the other way."
Kawhi calling his own teammate's offensive foul got me howling 😂😭💀 pic.twitter.com/UP2FSYghmQ— Vivek Jacob (@vivekmjacob) March 16, 2023
Leonard knew his man had tried to pull a fast one, and he wasn't fooled. Absolutely hilarious. Just about any other player in the league is arguing on his teammate's behalf, or at least just stays out of the debate. Leonard doesn't roll like that. He isn't looking for bogus advantages. It actually warms my basketball heart.
The play was reviewed, and on the broadcasting call JJ Redick was trying to say this this was a natural shooting motion, which is even more hilarious than Leonard's call out. This wasn't as egregious as, say, James Harden's fall-down maneuvers back in the day, or Kevin Love, who would basically broad jump sideways, but there is nothing natural about Gordon's motion here.
The offensive foul was correctly upheld. Leonard didn't need the review. He knew the moment it happened.