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The Clippers played host to the Blazers on Wednesday night as Portland did the old L.A. back-to-back after having beaten the Lakers on Monday. Things didn’t go as well for the Blazers on this night, as the Clippers steamrolled them, thanks in part to the return of Kawhi Leonard to the lineup.
Leonard had missed their last two games after taking some friendly fire on Christmas from Serge Ibaka that left him needing stitches after an elbow to his mouth caused a bloody scene on the court. He returned on Wednesday donning a mask as so many have done in the past in the NBA, but unlike the Rip-Hamilton-style face shields that have become en vogue, the nature of Leonard’s injury required a, well, unique design.
Kawhi with a… unique mask tonight pic.twitter.com/izGJdR1fID
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) December 31, 2020
The odd shape of Leonard’s mask drew a lot of comparisons to Hannibal Lector’s mask, with the tiny mouth hole — albeit without the bars on it — as NBA Twitter went to work on photoshops and jokes.
hannibal leonard pic.twitter.com/wUXwghArvv
— blackdragonroll (@blackdragonroll) December 31, 2020
What it do, Will Graham? https://t.co/lpObJO3ISv
— Antonio McDyess Clay (@thom_not_tom) December 31, 2020
i'm a fun guy pic.twitter.com/CUcovoU3DZ
— john wilmes (@johnwilmeswords) December 31, 2020
There were also lots of comparisons to Dwight Schrute from The Office, both in his Hannibal moment when he cut the face off of the CPR dummy and his own masked hoops look.
— Ali B (@ali_behpoornia) December 31, 2020
— Sleve McDichael (@steventurous) December 31, 2020
There were also plenty of wrestling jokes about Kawhi’s new look, among other lovely references, as NBA Twitter is at its best when someone comes out on the court with a new look.
They really got Kawhi out here in the Mick Foley mask pic.twitter.com/xWBv83tfhQ
— Joe Ali (@mrkangaroopkts) December 31, 2020
— chidori (@chidorigokuamvs) December 31, 2020
— josh androsky (@ShutUpAndrosky) December 31, 2020
they made kawhi mask courtside https://t.co/zhBwBbmfxA
— ディック (@fuckedupgoku) December 31, 2020
Kawhi look like MF Doof https://t.co/a6xfjCW0LK
— jokicban (@esteban_iggy) December 31, 2020
— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) December 31, 2020
— Greg the Haliburton Stan (@gwiss) December 31, 2020
The mask did its job, and Leonard seemed more than comfortable in his new look, as he had 28 points in three quarters of play as the Clippers put it on the Blazers. Still, it was certainly an interesting and unique look, one I wouldn’t expect many others to try out if they have their choice of design.