These San Antonio Spurs are definitely wise well beyond their years…especially their youngest starter.
After the Spurs won their fifth NBA championship last month, Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard was essentially a lock to make the U.S. Basketball team and participate in the World Cup of Basketball tournament late August in Spain.
Instead, he withdrew from consideration for the squad altogether. Why?
According to a report, Leonard claims after watching older teammates Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili push their bodies to the limit for their respective national teams and the Spurs in one year, he is opting to rest his body instead. Leonard says he would like to test his game against other countries, but that it’s important to rest his body after back-to-back Finals appearances.
We’re sure Coach Pop is selfishly thrilled to hear this. Gregg Popovich had to shut Parker down for two weeks this past season after the 32-year-old point guard was suffering from exhaustion after leading the French national team to a Eurobasket title last summer.
Perhaps, Ginobili, 36, should learn something from the 23-year-old Leonard and rest his body. Despite suffering a stress fracture in his right leg during the Finals, Ginobili is reportedly still trying to play for his Argentina national team during the World Cup of Basketball tournament.
While Leonard will skip this tournament, he can still be considered for Team USA in the 2016 Olympics. Let’s see what he decides then.