Today's Birthday 29/6

Callum Godde
Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is on the cusp of joining a select group of NBA superstars

Today's Birthday, June 29: American basketballer Kawhi Leonard (1991 - )

Quiet superstar Kawhi Leonard can join an elusive club if his Los Angeles Clippers claim the NBA title this post-season.

Having won NBA rings with San Antonio in 2014 and Toronto in 2019, the 29-year-old forward could become the third player in history to win three championships with three different franchises.

John Salley (Detriot, Chicago and Los Angeles Lakers) and Robert Horry (Houston, Lakers and Spurs) are the only players to accomplish the feat.

In his first season with the Clippers, Leonard had the long-suffering side humming with a 44-20 record before the COVID-19 shutdown.

The NBA season is set to resume in Disney World's closed-off campus environment in July, with the Clippers among the favourites to claim the title among the 22 invited teams.

Born in Los Angeles in 1991, Leonard was named the best high-school player in California in his senior year.

He spent two years honing his skills at college with San Diego State before entering the 2011 NBA draft.

The jury was still out on Leonard's potential.

His poor shooting scared away some teams and he fell to the Indiana Pacers at the 15th overall pick before being traded to San Antonio Spurs on draft night.

It couldn't have been a better landing spot for him.

Under legendary coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs moulded Leonard into a defensive beast which earnt him his "Klaw" nickname.

His work with long-time Spurs shooting doctor Chip Engelland also helped turn him into one of the league's biggest sharpshooters.

Taking a leaf out of teammate Tim Duncan's book, Leonard was crowned NBA Finals MVP at just 22 in the Spurs' 2014 title win over LeBron James' Miami Heat.

But things soured with the Spurs during the 2017-18 season when he refused to return from a nagging quad injury despite being cleared by medical staff.

Entering the final season of his contract, Leonard was traded to Toronto in 2018 and the move paid off as he led the Canadian side to their first NBA championship last year.

It wasn't enough for the Raptors to retain him though, with the prized free agent teaming up with All-Star Paul George at the Clippers on a three-year deal.