New Balance Makes Noise To Reboot Hoops Presence With Quiet Kawhi Leonard
Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 04:13PM
NYSportsJournalism.com in Kawhi Leonard, NBA, NBA, NBA All-Star Game, Newe Balance, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

February 14, 2019: Kawhi Leonard is known as an All-Star player who speaks volumes with his game on the court but chooses to remain under the radar everywhere else: No boisterous outbursts, no confrontations with players, coaches or refs; no runs-in with media; no messy midnight tweets.

His big noise: Moving from the San Antonio Spurs to the Toronto Raptors this past off-season — which did irk San Antonio fans despite his winning a NBA title and Finals MVP with them in 2013-14 — and leaving Nike’s Jordan Brand to sign with New Balance this past November.

New Balance has taken his personality and amped it up just enough to feature him in his first campaign for the brand.

The effort, to support the launch of Leonard’s signature shoe line, is anchored by a TV spot, "We Got Now: Kawhi Leonard," that will air during NBA All-Star weekend, supported by digital, social media and POP.

New Balance will also have on-site presence in Charlotte, which is hosting the All-Star Game (Feb. 17) and surrounding events.

During the All-Star Game, Leonard will be playing with Team LeBron James and wearing his first NB signature shoes.

The campaign comes with several tag lines: “We Got Next,” “We Got Now,” “We came to change the game” and “Made for the ones who (the words ‘play by’ are crossed out and replaced with) rewrite the rules.”

In the spot, Leonard is first seen as a blurry image, which is then superimposed with the word Kawhi.

True to his character, Leonard does not speak in the spot.

Instead, text offers: “Kawhi doesn’t need the cameras. He doesn’t need your hot takes. He doens’t need to chase fouls or chase the comments or post selfies. You can follow him @ The Gym. Kawhi doesn’t need to get your attention. He already has it. Game speaks for itself.

Leonard populates the New Balance Web site, which is offering his kicks and performance gear.

New Balance is not the only brand seeking to boost its hoops presence this season.

Last year, Puma returned to the court for the first time in decades, signing several NBA rookies and veterans and inking Walt “Clyde” Frazier, who was a brand spokesperson in the 1970s during his Hall of Fame career.

Puma this week signed a deal to become an official NBA partner.

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