The rafters at Viejas Arena will soon look a little different. The San Diego State Aztecs announced on Wednesday afternoon that they will be retiring the jersey of Kawhi Leonard.
His jersey number will be retired on Saturday, Feb.1 at Viejas Arena when the Aztecs face the Aggies of Utah State at 7 p.m. This will be the first jersey retirement in program history.
Leonard played for the program from 2009 to 2011. During his two years at State, the Aztecs won two Mountain West titles, reached the NCAA tournament twice, and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history.
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Leonard played 70 games in an Aztecs uniform, scoring 14.1 points per game. He also led SDSU to a record 20 consecutive wins, a streak that this year’s Aztecs are trying to beat. They reached 18-0 with Tuesday’s win at Fresno State.
Leonard was drafted 15th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers, but was traded to the San Antonio Spurs. The SDSU product quickly became a household name in 2014 when the Spurs beat the LeBron James led Miami Heat 4-1 in the NBA Finals and the SDSU product earned Finals MVP.
In 2019, he was traded to the Toronto Raptors. He hit a game-winning shot against Philadelphia in Game 7 of the playoffs, slowed down Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Conference Finals, and beat the Golden State Warriors to claim his second championship and Finals MVP.
Leonard decided to come back to Southern California in the offseason when he signed a three-year $103 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. If he were to help them win a ring and add another Finals MVP he would be the first player in NBA history to win Finals MVP for three different teams.
Leonard has grown as a player since leaving the Mesa, but he put them on the map and now he will be honored for his hard work and achievements.