Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard come across as two different personalities when it comes to playing on the court. While LeBron James is known to exhibit style and power, Kawhi Leonard is known to prefer a more subdued form of dominance. The base of their NBA rivalry first began seven years ago where a 21-year-old Kawhi Leonard took on an in-form LeBron James during Miami Heat vs San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals.
Over the years, the rivalry between the two seemed to grow with Kawhi Leonard holding a 15-9 record over LeBron James including the playoffs, but back in 2013, things were completely different for both players. While LeBron James was at his peak and formed a formidable trio with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh at Miami Heat, Kawhi Leonard was just making his mark in the NBA. The match-up between James and Leonard was expected to go in James' favour, but it didn't quite pan out for the then-Miami Heat star.
During Game 5 of the 2013 NBA Finals, LeBron James was about to take a free-throw when Kawhi Leonard checked into the game. The moment James saw Leonard checking in, his expression appeared to have changed completely. The expression said it all as Kawhi Leonard exhibited some stellar defence to annoy James throughout the game. It was LeBron James who celebrated in the end as Miami won the series 4-3 with James taking home Finals MVP honours. Next season (2014) it was a Heat vs Spurs final once again and Kawhi Leonard helped his side take revenge in the Heat vs Spurs seven-game series as Spurs beat Heat 4-1 to win the Larry O'Brien trophy.
The NBA season has come to a standstill due to coronavirus, but LeBron James had an incredible season in which he averaged 25.7 points, 10.6 assists, and 7.9 rebounds per game with the Lakers. In the entire season, he shot 49.8% from the field. The Los Angeles Lakers qualified for the playoffs after posting a 49-14 win-loss record in the season.
Kawhi Leonard also had a good season with the Los Angeles Clippers in which he averaged 26.9 points, 5 assists, and 7.3 rebounds per game. In the entire season, he shot 46.9% from the field. The Los Angeles Clippers are second in the Western Conference but are yet to qualify for the playoffs. They posted a 44-20 win-loss record in the season.