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Volume 27 No. 10
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Kawhi Leonard's Marketing Appeal Evident Via Social Media

Clippers F Kawhi Leonard in the last year or so has "flipped his public image upside down, going from a superstar who nobody knew anything about to a superstar who was absolutely adored by social media," according to David Singh of SPORTSNET.ca. In '19, Leonard was the "fifth-most mentioned athlete globally" according to Twitter Canada, trailing only LeBron James (No. 4) and a "trio of soccer stars" in Cristiano Ronaldo (3), Lionel Messi (2) and Neymar (1). Anything Leonard says now has the "potential to be clipped, GIF's and turned into a meme." The Leonard today "began to take shape" in September '18 when he was introduced with the Raptors. That appearance "produced the awkward laugh and his assertion that he was a 'fun guy,'" which was "perfect meme fodder and part of the reason for that was because few had seen or heard from Leonard over the previous year." Unlike "virtually every NBA player, Leonard has no presence on Twitter or Instagram." The marketing team at New Balance saw Leonard's Toronto press conference and "engaged him in endorsement talks during the early part of his Raptors tenure." New Balance Global Dir of Consumer Marketing & Athlete Activation Patrick Cassidy "learned from his various meetings" with Leonard that he was "open to any and all ideas" (SPORTSNET.ca, 12/10).