Spurs Kawhi Leonard Drives A ’97 Chevrolet Tahoe

Photo Credit: EricsMuscleCars Screenshot Via YouTube
Photo Credit: EricsMuscleCars Screenshot Via YouTube /

Not every celebrity athlete has a luxury car.

And no, that is not a photo of Kawhi Leonard’s car.

The term “jalop” is defined on dictionary.com as, “An old and battered car or airplane.” I don’t know about you guys, but my first car wasn’t the greatest car on the road.  I was lucky to sport a 1993 Toyota Corolla with a 3-speed automatic transmission.  As a car-guy, I was disgusted by that transmission.  Three speeds.  That was a revolutionary technology back in the 1960’s, and it was all mine in reliable, Japanese-made, form.  Yay.  Clearly, I had to understand that it was my first car and that anything could happen with my lack of experience.

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Well, it turns out that our fellow NBA athletes have similar experiences.  I remember a long time ago, back in 2002 when the Lakers had Mark Madsen and Mike Penberthy on the roster.  Shaquille O’Neal teased Mark Madsen for driving an old Toyota Previa.  Mike Penberthy, if I remember correctly, was driving a Hyundai Accent.  Seeing those cars lined up next to a Bentley or Escalade would look silly.  Championship teams can’t have their players roll their jalops into Staples Center, right?

It struck me odd.  I figure once a guy hit the NBA life, they got an NBA contract.  The veteran minimum back then still had them earning well over $250,000.  Surely, you’d think, that someone that came into that kind of contract, even for just one year, would end up buying something new.  That isn’t always the case, especially for Kawhi Leonard.

For San Antonio Spurs’ Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, simple is best.

From SI.com’s Lee Jenkins:

"He often drives a rehabbed ’97 Chevy Tahoe, nicknamed Gas Guzzler, which he drove across Southern California’s Inland Empire as a teenager. “It runs,” Leonard explains, “and it’s paid off.”"

Frankly, I still drive my ’07 Subaru Legacy GT Wagon because, “it runs… and it’s paid off.”

IMAG1996SubaruLegacy2.5GTWagon (2)
IMAG1996SubaruLegacy2.5GTWagon (2) /

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We may dream about driving luxury cars, sports cars, supercars, and hypercars in our life times.  Some of us can have that opportunity, to own one, or at least have the driving experience through places like Dream Racing.  It’s also quite humbling to see that even NBA players with large contracts, still stick to what works.

I’ve often said that what a person drives is similar to their personality.  In Kawhi’s case, he’s reliable, simple, and gets the job done.  What else can be said for a potential MVP candidate?

Our jalops may not be the fastest or fanciest, but they get us to point-B with ultimate security.