Kawhi Leonard decided to come home this summer and sign with the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent.
While Leonard hopes to bring champion success on the court, he wants to be an inspiration to others off the court as well.
This past Tuesday (August 20), Leonard showed up at Cloverdale Elementary, where he was once an honor roll student, with a big surprise.
He gifted students with brand new backpacks to start the school year off right.
In front of the throngs of wide-eyed students, Leonard offered words of encouragement, saying:
“I’m happy to be here. This is where it all started for me, at Cloverdale. This is where the dream began. I know how hard it is for parents and students at the start of the school year, so I wanted to start here today by giving away a million backpacks to Southern California and to every student here today.
“That’s one of my goals this year, to help on and off the court in a great way, and I felt like this would be a great way to start. I hope you guys know the Clippers have your backs so long as you put in the work. Like I always say, just be great.”
Leonard will be donating backpacks to all the children in the Los Angeles, Inglewood and Moreno Valley Unified school districts.
According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 80% of K-12 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District system were eligible for free or reduced lunch, meaning they are either from a low-income family, homeless or in the foster program.
Receiving a free backpack is a huge help to many of these children and their families as they often have to move from place to place at a momen'ts notice. Having something to store their belongings in is a big deal.
This is just the beginning of the type of work Leonard wants to do. He continued:
“I want to help kids with their education, to hopefully inspire them to keep moving forward despite the obstacles. And I wanted to start with my old school, because this is where it all started at for me."
Photo: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Baby2Baby