Kawhi Leonard is one of the best players in the game. And, it turns out, he’s a major sneakerhead. Check out the Q&A where Kawhi discusses the AJ XXXI, his favorite kicks, his first pair of Js, and more.
And check out the new AJ XXXI ‘Royal’ that Kawhi is repping in the photos. The AJ XXXI ‘Royal’ and the Retro 1 ‘Royal’ will be available April 1 on eastbay.com.
Why did you choose the AJ XXXI as your on-court shoe?
Just because it’s light and it still has the comfort level. I do a lot of cuts and movements in a game and it’s a very durable shoe.
What’s your favorite part of the AJ XXXI?
I like how it went back to the classic AJ 1. It kind of looks like a classic Jordan 1 and I like how the Nike logo transitions into the Jumpman logo.
Do you feel like the shoe compliments your work on the defensive end?
Yeah, yeah, like I was saying, I feel like it’s a durable shoe. I do a lot of cuts, trying to get around a lot of picks. Big men try to set a pick on me and [the shoe] is light as well so I can chase guys around.
Do you have a favorite AJ XXXI colorway?
Obviously the white and blacks are the ones that I play in and my favorite color. It goes well with our jerseys and you can wear it with anything.
What does your PE logo mean to you?
It means a lot. Just being a child and looking at guys’ shoes and wondering if one day you could get your own shoes. It’s just amazing. You see that transition from high school to college to the pros and then you look down and you’re on the floor and see your own logo on your shoes.
Does it feel extra special to have it be on a Jordan?
For sure. Growing up, [MJ] was my idol. I just wanted to become a player like he was.
How many pairs of Js do you own?
Probably over two or three hundred pairs.
Do you have a favorite?
My favorite Jordans are probably the Retro 3s. I like the ‘True Blue’ colorway.
What was your first pair of Jordan’s?
I was probably too young to even remember. I know the first ones that stood out to me were the black and red 13s. Those are one of my favorites as well.
Did you play ball in them?
No, I don’t think I did. I used to try and take care of my shoes even that young at six years old. I came home, took them off, and put some outside shoes on (laughs).
You always made sure to keep them extra fresh?
Oh, yeah. For sure.