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LeBron James says Kawhi Leonard defends him best

San Antonio Spurs v Cleveland Cavaliers

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives against Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on November 19, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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Joe Dumars’ reputation was boosted significantly when Michael Jordan said the Pistons guard defended him better than anyone. Ruben Patterson labeled himself the Kobe Stopper and is still known for it.

Guarding a generational scorer better than anyone else is a ticket to lasting recognition.

Asked who defends him best, LeBron James anointed Kawhi Leonard.

LeBron, via the Open Run podcast:

Kawhi Leonard. Kawhi Leonard, he’s solid. He’s solid, solid at that end of the floor. He’s very, very solid. I like him. I like the kid.

This seems like the right choice. The Spurs’ forward has won the last two Defensive Player of the Year awards. His superior length, strength, athleticism and intelligence gives him a chance against LeBron.

But it’s just a chance.

LeBron excelled against Leonard in the 2013 Finals. Leonard slowed LeBron enough the following year for San Antonio to win the title, though LeBron still thrived for most of the series.

Still, that’s a far higher success rate than most against LeBron.