A wonderful story in The Athletic about college Kawhi Leonard dropped this week, and it included a detail that took the internet by storm. Leonard would apparently say “board man gets paid” after he’d reel in misses, which is both an excellent line and just about what you’d come to expect is the kind of stuff the mild-mannered Leonard would say if he talked trash on the floor.
Following the Toronto Raptors’ 123-109 win in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night, Leonard was asked about this anecdote by Robert Littal of Black Sports Online. Instead of giving a no comment, Leonard told the story behind one thing he used to say before he got to the NBA.
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) June 6, 2019
“I used to say that back when I was in high school and college,” Leonard said. “Just wanting to get to this league, just … it’s about working hard, basically, outworking the opponent. Rebounds help you win games, big rebounds, offensive rebounds, limiting the team to one shot. And that used to be our motto, just some of us that were in college that was trying to get to this point.”
That’s actually a really good mentality to have while you’re playing basketball, and it’s one that is evident when Leonard takes the floor. He had 30 points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks in the Game 3 victory, but his best moment unquestionably involved telling everyone that the board man does, indeed, get paid.