Leonard Could Cash In Following Finals MVP, But Will Marketers Find Him Too Reserved?
Baker Street Advertising Senior VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman in his NBA Finals Sports Marketers’ Scouting Report called Spurs F Kawhi Leonard the "breakout star of the postseason" and wrote his NBA Finals MVP award "could be worth as much as $1M a year in new off-the-court income opportunities." However, Leonard is "one of the NBA's shyest and quietest players, which could limit his marketability." Dorfman notes Leonard may be "best-suited for non-speaking roles" until he "comes out of his shell and gets more friendly with the camera" (THE DAILY). USA TODAY's Jeff Zillgitt reported the "demands on Leonard's time will increase" following his MVP performance, as late-night talk shows "want him as a guest, and the Spurs are taking hundreds of calls for interview requests." The exposure also "could open endorsement possibilities for Leonard, who has regional sponsorship deals with McDonald's, AT&T, BBVA Compass bank and Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B." He also is "transitioning from Nike to Jordan Brand and received a congratulatory text message from Michael Jordan after Game 5" (USATODAY.com, 6/18).
BUT AT LEAST IT LOOKS COOL: Leonard makes his first appearance on the cover of SI this week, shown about to dunk over Heat C Chris Andersen, However, ESPN's Keith Olbermann noted Leonard "missed that shot ... at the end of the third quarter of Game Four" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 6/18). DEADSPIN's Tom Ley wrote, "Now poor Chris Andersen is going to have to spend the summer explaining to his friends that he didn't actually get posterized by Kawhi Leonard. Magazines are liars" (DEADSPIN.com, 6/18).