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Kawhi Leonard Protects His Family From the Limelight
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File

Kawhi Leonard rarely has a tell.

The Los Angeles Clippers small forward has the blankest poker face in the game, which is rivaled only by his former San Antonio Spurs teammate Tim Duncan.

It’s become his trademark. He didn’t even show his hand during free agency when the NBA player chose to join the Clippers instead of teaming up with LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP strategically shies from the limelight when it comes to his personal life. He glares the poker face and side-steps any questions that take place outside the lines.

He does have a life other than basketball. He shares a healthy relationship and two children with his longtime girlfriend, Kishele Shipley. You just won’t see much of it, if any.

Kawhi Leonard’s Girlfriend Kishele Shipley

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Kawhi Leonard and Kishele Shipley met when they attended San Diego State University. Shipley graduated from SDSU with a degree in public administration, and currently works in human resources.

Shipley, a California native, has two siblings — an older sister Kenisha and a younger sister Kasandra — and was raised by parents Kenneth and Cathy Marie Shipley.

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Kawhi and Kishele have two children together. The couple’s first child, daughter Kaliyah Leonard, was born in 2016. They welcomed a second child, a baby boy, in 2019 when Leonard was on the Toronto Raptors.

Their son was born in Toronto, and Leonard revealed that he is technically a Canadian citizen. He was reportedly named after Kawhi’s father, Mark, who was tragically killed at a shooting at a car wash in Compton, California.

Shipley was regularly seen in attendance during the Raptors’ 2019 playoff run. She and Kaliyah were seen on the Raptors’ victory-parade float celebrating the franchise’s first NBA championship. Along for the ride was Drake, who shares a similar affection for avoiding high-profile situations like Leonard.

Shipley’s made appearances on the Instagram account of Leonard’s sister, Miesha Slayton, with the basketball player’s family. It raises the question: did Kawhi Leonard propose? Did he go to Jared?

I doubt we’ll get an official answer right as it happens, or maybe ever. Leonard has become self-aware. He plays into his guarded demeanor by deflecting questions and rolling with the punches — It’s awesome.

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The NBA needs a superstar who trolls the media with deadpan delivery. Contrary to his peers, Leonard won’t scrounge or flaunt on social media after games.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year and five-time All-Star shows up, dominates on the basketball court, and does God knows what in his free time. Answering questions about his marital status? Good luck getting Kawhi on board with that.

Leonard and Shipley enjoy a happy life together. It’s easy to see why she fell for him and it’s not just because he’s an NBA star. There’s just something about that laugh.

This post was originally published on June 17, 2020 before updating.

MORE: Kawhi Leonard’s Net Worth: How “The Claw” Quietly Kept His Fortune

Joe Grobeck About the author:
Joe is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and lives in Austin, Texas. He believes Ndaumkong Suh should've won the 2009 Heisman and is an avid basketball fan.
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