Kawhi Leonard is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is one of the highest paid players in the league and has built up a significant net worth from his NBA career earnings and endorsements.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Kawhi Anthony Leonard was born on June 29, 1991 in Los Angeles, California. He played basketball at Martin Luther King High School before attending San Diego State University from 2009 to 2011. Leonard was a standout player in college, earning All-American honors and leading his team to the NCAA tournament.
He declared for the 2011 NBA draft after his sophomore season and was selected 15th overall by the Indiana Pacers before being traded to the San Antonio Spurs on draft night. Leonard quickly established himself as one of the best young two-way players in the NBA with the Spurs. He helped the team win an NBA championship in 2014 and was named NBA Finals MVP.
Earnings with the San Antonio Spurs
After being drafted in 2011, Leonard signed a rookie scale contract with the Spurs worth $5.3 million over 2 years. In 2013, he signed a 4 year, $94 million contract extension with the Spurs. This marked his first major long-term NBA contract.
Leonard earned around $18 million per year under this Spurs deal. He made a total of $97 million in salary during his 7 seasons with the Spurs, establishing himself as a max contract level player. Leonard’s last season in San Antonio (2017-18) saw him earn $18.9 million in base salary.
In addition to his big salary, Leonard was able to sign several lucrative endorsement deals as his star rose in San Antonio. Major brands like Jordan Brand, State Farm, Panini, and Wingstop offered Kawhi major sponsorship deals.
Blockbuster Trade to the Toronto Raptors
After 7 successful seasons with the Spurs, Leonard was surprisingly traded to the Toronto Raptors in July 2018. The Raptors sent star DeMar DeRozan along with Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first round pick to San Antonio in exchange for Leonard and Danny Green.
This turned out to be one of the biggest trades in recent NBA history, as Leonard led the Raptors to their first ever NBA title in his lone season in Toronto. He averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game en route to being named Finals MVP for the second time in his career.
Leonard was in the final year of his Spurs contract during the 2018-19 season in Toronto, earning $20.1 million in base salary. He declined a $21.3 million player option with the Raptors for 2019-20, instead opting to become a free agent and choose his next team.
Free Agent Deal with the Los Angeles Clippers
In July 2019, Leonard signed one of the biggest contracts in NBA free agency history – a 3 year, $103 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. The contract included a player option for the 3rd season (2021-22) and the ability to opt-out after the second year to potentially sign an even bigger max contract.
Leonard earned $32.7 million in the first year of his Clippers deal and $34.4 million in the second year. His Clippers salary has continued to rank among the highest in the NBA, cementing his status as a true superstar player.
In addition to his massive Clippers contract, Kawhi also signed a “lifetime” deal with New Balance in 2019 reported to be worth up to $100 million. He left Jordan Brand after his trade to Toronto to sign with New Balance, who wanted to build their brand around him.
Kawhi Leonard’s Net Worth in 2023
Forbes recently estimated Kawhi Leonard’s net worth at $95 million as of 2023. However, his actual net worth is likely even higher based on his current $34+ million annual salary and additional income from endorsements. Here is a summary of Kawhi’s major earnings sources:
- Career NBA Salary Earnings (2011 – 2023): $235+ million
- Endorsement Deals with New Balance, Panini, State Farm: $100+ million
- Investments in Real Estate and Startups: $10+ million+
Adding up the above income sources would put Kawhi Leonard’s current net worth at approximately $350 million. At just 31 years old, he is currently in his prime earning years and can continue to add significantly to his net worth over the next 5-10 years barring any major injuries.
With his extensive endorsement portfolio, Leonard can also supplement his NBA salary with tens of millions per year in additional sponsorship deals. If he reaches a few more NBA Finals and wins another championship or two, these marketing opportunities will only expand.
Real Estate and Other Investments
In addition to traditional income sources, Leonard has made several investments that contribute to his current net worth.
He has purchased several luxury homes and properties in California and Texas worth at least $20 million combined. Leonard owns a lavish mansion in Pacific Palisades, CA that cost nearly $14 million as well as a custom mansion near San Diego built for $17.3 million.
Kawhi has also invested in some startup companies, including investing alongside Clippers owner Steve Ballmer in sports nutrition brand Nutrabolt. He has a vested interest in continuing to build his investment portfolio off the court.
At just 31 years old, Kawhi Leonard has already earned over a quarter billion dollars in his NBA career. With his All-Star level of play expected to continue for several more seasons, Kawhi should be able to build a net worth of $400 – $500 million assuming he avoids any major injuries or declines in performance.
He is one of the most dominant two-way players in the modern NBA game. His legendary performances in the playoffs and multiple Finals MVPs give him strong marketing and endorsement value on top of his massive salary.
Barring the unforeseen, Kawhi Leonard is on pace to become one of the wealthiest players in NBA history based on his current net worth trajectory. With savvy investments and sponsorship deals, he should continue to expand his wealth for the foreseeable future.