Kawhi Leonard Signs an Endorsement Deal with New Balance

Kawhi Leonard has agreed to a multiyear endorsement deal with New Balance.

While some think the basketball category is dead, it’s really just evolving.

With Nike being the number one sportswear brand for well over a decade, it was time that brands took a stand within the category and added some new depth and flavor. Competition among brands is good and it’s good for us consumers because it ensures that each brand competitively pushes one another to strive to provide its consumer base with the best products it can create.

Puma has recently reestablished itself with the launch of the Puma Clyde Court Disrupt and now, it’s New Balance’s turn.

When a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year turns down an extension with Jordan Brand, it means one of two things: the product isn’t as good as it could be or the brand isn’t treating/paying its players the way it should be. It could even be a little bit of both.

The terms and conditions of Leonard’s new deal are currently unknown. Will he be the new face of the brand’s basketball division? Will he receive a signature sneaker or just wear the products they create with some player input?

Share your thoughts on New Balance making a comeback to basketball and whether or not you’re excited to see Kawhi wear them on the hardwood.

Source: Yahoo! Sports

41 Comments

  1. I thought basketball shoes were a shrinking market?Having more choices as a baller is great. But have these companies really thought it through? Is it all foreign markets that make this work?

      1. Sales numbers have shrunk, but its mostly due to consumers shifting off-court desires. Most people are not buying hoop shoes to wear casually like they were when the LBJ9’s were around. Shoes like the NMD, Roshe Run, Ultra Boost etc have taken away those casual sales. However, basketball is not a dying sport. Basketball players still need basketball shoes.

        Numbers don’t tell the entire narrative. They’re useful so you know whats trending, but it’s not a all encompassing look into the market.

        1. Sounds right. But Matt Powell also stated that the sales of basketballs is declining. And less basketballs means less people playing with basketballs. Maybe the market is saturated or on a plateau. But no matter what, decline or rise, there will always be people playing basketball.

          1. I’m aware of that stat he put out there as well. But I still think is much more to factor in than just a sales figure.

            Are less sales due to less people playing or is it another factor? More people playing together (using less balls)? Are the current balls lasting longer than years prior? Less people playing outdoors and instead going to indoor courts (thus lasting longer)?

            More importantly, has this happened before?

            I do not think looking at a number is a good way of seeing the entire market. It’s just a small piece of the puzzle. Every market hits highs and lows. The stock market shows us that daily. But it does not indicate that an entire sport is dying or on the decline.

  2. LMAO….Seahawks-Pete Carroll and now Kawhi Leonard? Way to go New Balance!!!!!! moving up in the world. didn’t even know New Balance made basketball shoes? lol smh Kawhi must of got paid hella $$$$$

  3. Wow, did not see that coming, but good for Kawhi. If he’s happy with the deal and they can put out a performance sneaker he is good with, that’s a win-win.

  4. Bold move by Kawhi. Puma sure delivered. I want NB and Asics to shake the swoosh empire. Boost and Adidas crazy series was the best thing for.our consumer and for Nike and JB step out of the comfort zone

  5. Having more competition is always a good thing for consumers. No more swoosh dominance. I want to see Asics Fila Brooks start signing NBA players.

  6. Kawhi is a perfect fit for them. If Kawhi plays at a high level the shoes will sell, regardless of all these people talking mess.

    1. Also, I had some NB bball shoes in 9th grade because my parents wouldn’t buy me Jordans. I ran those into the ground lol. I wouldn’t buy them again for ball but I loved them at the time lol.

  7. What this tells me is that Kawhi feels that Nike shoes are the reason why he was injured. While Puma is also suggesting the same thing with Cousins, and it would not surprise me that the real reason that Kawhi didn’t play last year, and then parts of this year, was to wait for his contract with JB to end.

    1. I can see some Nike shoes causing injury so I don’t disagree with that premise. But, why would Kawhi start the season in the same Jordan 32s that he wore last year, if he thought that they would cause him injury?

      I just think he wants to do his own thing. He doesn’t seem like a follower

  8. I used to like the look of the New Balance BB889 so who knows, maybe with a good designer they can make something interesting…

  9. I don’t know if it is a smart or a wrong move for him, cause New balance haven’t shown anything yet for basketball shoes (lifestyle shoes hands down are great). Really worried performance wise, unlike PUMA they already have from the past and regain again early this year, just don’t be like APL 😛

  10. That doesn’t even make any sense. He’s hooping in Jordans right now. He tried to re-sign with them but they didn’t want to pay him much.

  11. I’m excited New Balance is back in the basketball market. l loved playing in them since it was perfect for people with wide foot & arch problems. NB also had some great traction on their shoes. Only problem i ever had with NBB was when the switched over to the synthetic crap the durability became a issue. We expecting Reebok to comeback next?

  12. Kawhi was getting less than $500,000 a year from jordan, which is peanuts for a player of his caliber. So theres the reason. I think they tend to undercut their non-sig allstars. Jimmy butler they signed on the cheap as well.

    Now new balance gotta bring it. They have some interesting cushions, so the potential is there.

  13. There is not much New Balance is making that isn’t great. They own the baseball and lacrosse markets and did it by making products athletes want to wear. I sell a lot of baseball, basketball and running footwear and am super excited they are getting into this market again. I have no doubt it will be outstanding and with the industry changing Fresh Foam mixed with Abzorb and some of the other new tech like what they have in the new Rubix running shoes, these will be a technical basketball shoe dream. I will definitely be buying a pair and selling a bunch of them. Good for Kawhi and New Balance.

  14. Did Matt Bonner reel him in? Great news overall. We have new brands coming in, Chinese brands staying, and 90’s brands coming back. Pony and Spalding next?

  15. What do you think of fresh foam for cushioning on a basketball shoe? Is it like bounce or micro G? Im curious what leonards logo will be. Do you think he can use his Claw logo he have with Jordan?

    1. Fresh Foam will be very good. New Balance continues to tweak the product offering different densities of foam to make it more stable, but still bouncy. If you have a chance, go to a running shoe store and try on the New Balance 1080. I would expect the basketball fresh foam to be like what is in that running shoe. They also have a new tech that is in the Rubix running shoe. I just picked up a pair and will be wearing them later today. I spoke with my New Balance tech rep today and they are super excited about the Kawhi signing and no doubt will put out an incredible product.

  16. This is interesting on this standpoint. If he ends up going to play for another team how will he promote the shoe? He doesn’t do social media marketing at all. Also most players do end up playing in LeBrons and kobes, so having other brands show Nike they have good shoes. I won’t be surprise when shoes start to be lower than usual.

  17. People saying he shouldn’t leave JB for a s****y brand like NB makes me wanna laugh…LOUD. JB gets away with (way) below market wage average for its players because they sell them on the idea of having exclusive/rare PE Jordans etc. While that sounds otherworldly for average Joes like us, or even less accomplished players (who wouldn’t be able to land huge shoe deals anyway), some of these guys couldn’t care less about what they have on their feet while playing basketball. Last time I checked, Kawhi still drove around in his Chevy ’97, so I’m quite sure he doesn’t give a rat’s a** about people’s perception. At the end of the day, players are in it for the money and we can’t blame them. I’m pretty sure he’ll be able to buy whichever J he feels like with the truckload of money they’re sending his way.

  18. Really happy new balance is back. I used to rock the 650 and the worthy express which was retroed a few years back.

    Hope they do take some retro design aesthetics from those for the new shoes. Adding it with freshfoam would be whack.

  19. “When a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year turns down an extension with Jordan Brand, it means one of two things: the product isn’t as good as it could be or the brand isn’t treating/paying its players the way it should be. It could even be a little bit of both.”

    I think it’s a money issue. He turned down the extension from JB over the summer, became a free agent, yet still plays in XXX2s.

    1. As a Free Agent – players can still wear whatever they want, however he has shoes that fits his needs, so he wears them. There is more to the story behind the extension that he didn’t accept.

  20. anybody who calls new balance a ‘sh***y brand’ doesn’t know the first thing about shoes, i’m sorry, new balance understands footwear and they understand feet, their 99x series is twenty years old and they’re still the most comfortable shoes that you can wear to stand in/walk around in all day (yes, much more so than the ultraboost or the epic react or react element or whatever newfangled new techy shoe they’re touting now), and they were making different lasts for people with different width feet since forever, i’m excited about this move because nb has been my favorite offcourt brand for a minute now, fresh foam is an awesome cushion but their tried and tested foams from the ’80s and ’90s are already incredible, i’m sure they’re going to turn out something low-key and performance ready…good on you, kawhi!

    1. i’m just hoping the basketball sneakers will be american made with good materials and a quality build, it would be the hoop equivalent of my beloved 990s, unfortunately much as i love NB the quality difference between the made in china and made in america/england joints is night and day

  21. More choices is always a good thing although I dont see Kawhi moving product. Hopefully NB wont rely on his name and somehow deliver an amazing performance model/models. They know quality. The biggest hurdle is young people taking them seriously and actually buying their product.

  22. With all these old/new brands coming back to NBA players’ feet, I’m hoping that Reebok tries to do the same

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