Why Did Penny Hardaway Say Kawhi Leonard Isn’t A Superstar? Well … He Didn’t

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Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard

Photo via Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports Images

Nothing gets NBA fans fired up like a good “superstar” debate, especially when a former player decides to knock a current star down a few pegs.

That’s apparently what former Orlando Magic All-Star guard Penny Hardaway recently did at Kawhi Leonard’s expense. During an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio’s “The Bottomline Sports Show,” Hardaway was quoted as saying the San Antonio Spurs forward isn’t a superstar.

That’s a pretty strong take, given that Leonard has made the All-NBA First Team for two consecutive seasons, twice has won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year Award and widely is considered one of the best — if not the best — two-way players in the entire sport.

So, where does Hardaway come off saying Leonard isn’t a superstar? Nowhere, it turns out. Bottomline Sports recently pointed folks to the actual audio of Hardaway supposedly snubbing Kawhi, and what he actually said is quite different.

“Superstar? I’m not going to discount, neither,” Hardaway said. “I love Kawhi. What I’m trying to say, superstar — You know what, I could give Kawhi superstar, because he’s just not a guy who likes commercials. He’s not a guy who wants to be the face of the league. He just wants to get his work done. He doesn’t want to talk. That part goes along with being a superstar, though.

“But I would give him — he would be a superstar to me, for sure.”

So, yeah. We’re not sure how this got lost in translation, but it’s pretty obvious Hardaway believes Leonard is a superstar. Now that we cleared that up, please enjoy this Hardaway highlight reel from when he and Shaquille O’Neal formed a deadly duo in Orlando.

Thumbnail photo via Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports Images

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