Kawhi Leonard again tops list of Canada’s most Googled athletes

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Los Angeles Clippers team chairman Steve Ballmer, center, presents a new team jersey to Kawhi Leonard, right, as Paul George looks on during a press conference. (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)

Another month, another search ranking.

We asked Google to help us rank athletes by search from Canada only in the month of July. What they sent us back says a lot about the place of NBA stars on the minds of those north of the border.

In the top 30 this month we’ve got 12 basketball players, six tennis players, four combat-sports athletes, three hockey players, three soccer players and two golfers. Surprisingly, no baseball players made the list, even as trade-deadline speculation heated up.

Without further adieu, here’s the top 30, complete with intermittent commentary:

1. Kawhi Leonard

A shocker right off the top. I mean, what did Kawhi do this month, and was anyone really interested? Oh. Right.

After the #Kawhiwatch finally ended, he signed with the Los Angeles Clippers and was introduced in a long-awaited press conference later in the month in which he thanked Canada and the city of Toronto and Raptors fans. Our next project should be rank the most-searched athlete months of all time. This one might take it.

2. Roger Federer

3. Serena Williams

Wimbledon made it a very big month for tennis stars, with six total players appearing in the top 30. Ironically, the two second-place finishers finished first in terms of search rankings. Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep got the trophies, but Federer and Williams get the search cred.

4. Russell Westbrook

5. Novak Djokovic

6. Danny Green

The Raptors’ other major summer 2018 acquisition from the San Antonio Spurs had a free-agent courting process of his own. He eventually signed with the Lakers, and so will be a crosstown rival with his former teammate and fellow two-time champion.

7. Rafael Nadal

8. Kevin Durant

9. LeBron James

10. Simona Halep

11. Tiger Woods

No, Tiger didn’t win a major tournament in June, but he was in a major tournament. And that’s apparently enough.

12. Ben Askren

After beating Robbie Lawler on a controversial stoppage in March, Askren got knocked out by a flying knee in the first five seconds of his fight with Jorge Masvidal (see #21 below) on July 6. It was the fastest knockout in UFC history.

13. Alex Morgan

Morgan tied for the FIFA Women’s World Cup lead with six goals en route to her team winning the whole thing, and earned extra notoriety for her tea-sipping celebration in the U.S. victory over England. She also won female athlete of the year at the ESPYs.

14. Jeremy Lin

15. Mitch Marner

The first hockey player on the list, Marner’s contract situation is still unclear, though there’s been a lot of chatter about his RFA status and possible offer sheets. That makes him a safe bet to appear on the August version of this list.

16. Neymar

17. Manny Pacquiao

18. Jon Jones

19. Jason Spezza

On Day 1 of NHL free agency, Spezza signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, finally coming to the team he cheered for as a kid growing up in nearby Mississauga.

20. DeMarcus Cousins

21. Jorge Masvidal

22. Chris Paul

More NBA players?! Cousins signed a short-term deal with the Lakers after becoming even more well known to Canadians while playing for the Golden State Warriors against the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals, and Chris Paul got traded to the Thunder in the Westbrook deal (see #4 above).

23. Rory McIlroy

Playing the British Open at home in Northern Ireland, McIlroy quadruple bogeyed the first hole and finished the first round at eight over. Like Tiger, he had a tournament he’d likely rather forget.

24. Lionel Messi

25. James Neal

Undoubtedly a late-month riser on the search rankings, Neal got sent from Calgary to Edmonton in a deal for Milan Lucic.

26. Eugenie Bouchard

27. Vince Carter

28. Carmelo Anthony

29. Andre Iguodala

30. Kyle Lowry

And a run of NBA players to close out the top 30. Carter and Anthony are major names looking for what could be their final contracts, and Iguodala got traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. (He’s also been the subject of buyout speculation ever since.)

Meanwhile, Lowry didn’t do much this much outside of have surgery on his thumb — an injury suffered during the Eastern Conference Semifinals — and reaffirm his commitment to playing for USA Basketball (if healthy). Just more evidence that Raptors and NBA interest in Canada seem to be at an all-time high.

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