Kawhi Leonard might have experience brushing off critics of his play on the court, but he might be breaking new ground on this latest with his latest major career move.
Earlier today, Yahoo! Sports reported that Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard is set to land an endorsement deal from New Balance.
From Yahoo NBA insider Chris Haynes:
Leonard, 27, will serve as the face of New Balance basketball, with the company looking to re-establish itself in the basketball market.
The two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year turned down an extension with Jordan Brand earlier this year, allowing him to become a sneaker free agent.
The deal will reportedly pay Leonard $5 million per year. He previously rejected an extension with Jordan Brand.
New Balance has not had as big a footprint in basketball – let alone the NBA – as Nike, but is reportedly looking to “re-establish itself in the basketball market.”
Following the news, Twitter was quick to make fun at Kawhi’s move to the comparatively bland sneaker company.
New Balance: Kawhi, congratulations on the deal, what did you have in mind for a design?
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) November 28, 2018
congratulations to kawhi on joinging the new balance family as their second choice after gordon hayward.
— ☕netw3rk (@netw3rk) November 28, 2018
Kawhi signing to New Balance is the most Kawhi decision a Kawhi has ever made.
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) November 28, 2018
Kawhi Leonard in conjunction with New Balance will soon be dropping the “Klaw Balance 1s” in the near future. pic.twitter.com/iLDtFkDmCu
— Rixi Kleber (@RickFortyOne_) November 28, 2018
Leonard has been enjoying a terrific first season in Toronto after joining the team in a trade from the San Antonio Spurs.
He is averaging 24.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game in just over 33 minutes per night – all of which are in the top-three on the team.
The Raptors are also 18-4, the best record in the NBA.