Kawhi Leonard made countless headlines this summer, both for helping the Toronto Raptors win their first NBA Championship and for his subsequent trade to the Los Angeles Clippers. However, another recent story deserves just as much attention.
Last month, Leonard announced his donation of 1 million backpacks in partnership with the Clippers and Baby2Baby to students in several Los Angeles area school districts, including his hometown. A California native and former student at Cloverdale Elementary School in the Moreno Valley Unified School District where he made the announcement, Leonard is committed to making a difference off the court as a new member of the Clippers organization.
“My goal this year is to make a meaningful contribution both on and off the court,” Leonard said. “This felt like the right way to get started. It was important to me to make this announcement in my hometown of Moreno Valley at my former elementary school, but the benefits this program will have across all of Los Angeles makes today even more special.”
For many students, these backpacks serve to do more than simply carry school supplies. With 80 percent of K-12 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District eligible to receive free or reduced lunch in 2018, students also use backpacks to carry their personal belongings, as many face unstable housing, homelessness and poverty.
From hosting free basketball clinics for youth to donating a car to a program for children with disabilities after earning it as a reward for his 2014-15 NBA Defensive Player of the Year recognition , Leonard has been active throughout his career paying it forward in San Antonio, Toronto, and back home in the City of Angels, where he continues to serve as an angel to so many.