Kawhi Leonard became a two-time NBA Champion and two-time NBA Finals MVP on Thursday after leading the Toronto Raptors to a Game 6 win over the Golden State Warriors. While Toronto’s new darling is soaking in the adoration from global basketball fans happy to see him return from injury and dethrone the champions, New Balance, his footwear partner, is also receiving more love.
“We’ve seen a significant uptick in conversation around New Balance and Kawhi Leonard since we first introduced our partnership,” said Patrick Cassidy, New Balance global director, consumer marketing.
New Balance signed Leonard to a multiyear endorsement deal in November much to the surprise of many fans, who took opportunity to send jokes on Twitter. The Boston-based footwear company released on May 7 Leonard’s signature sneakers, OMN1s and 997 Sport, as a double pack, which sold out immediately. The second act was the June 7 launch of branded T-shirts that read “Fun Guy” as a nod to Leonard’s introductory press conference for the Toronto Raptors in October. After the Raptors’ victory on Thursday, the company put up a “Fun Guy” billboard for the athlete.
“Kawhi’s performance on-court has elevated New Balance Basketball to become a credible player in a very competitive
Follow WWD on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.