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Volume 26 No. 46
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New Balance Not Rushing Into Other NBA Deals After Kawhi Success

New Balance was drawn to Leonard's reserved and even-keeled nature
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

New Balance has seen the benefits of its deal with Raptors F Kawhi Leonard during the team's NBA Finals run, but a New Balance official said that the brand does not "plan on rushing into new deals with additional NBA players anytime soon," according to Alicja Siekierska of YAHOO FINANCE. New Balance Global Dir of Consumer Marketing Patrick Cassidy said, "We will probably have at most five or 10 athletes over the next several years. But we want them to be athletes who are cut from a different cloth, who have that independent spirit and who want to follow their own blueprint." Siekierska noted in an NBA "full of loud and often outspoken personalities, Leonard is reserved and even-keeled, preferring to let his basketball prowess do the talking," which "appealed to New Balance." The first New Balance ad featuring Leonard, rolled out during All-Star Weekend, "emphasized Leonard's skills." Since that point, and "particularly throughout" the Raptors playoff run, New Balance has been "launching new products and unveiled splashy advertising in both Toronto and Oakland." One example was a "billboard above Toronto's Eaton Centre mall that showed a stern-looking Leonard with his arms crossed beside the caption 'fun guy.'" New Balance "ended up taking that moment and issuing a limited release of a 'Fun Guy' t-shirt, which sold out in select stores and online in mere minutes" (FINANCE.YAHOO.com, 6/7).

MAKING YOUR ONE SHOT COUNT: ESPN's Steve Coughlin while watching highlights of Leonard wondered, "Has anyone ever been this good whose worn New Balance?" Coughlin: "I was just asking, I've never seen them before." ESPN's Scott Van Pelt replied, "He's their one guy" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/7).