It seems that Kawhi Leonard does not want to be associated with Nike in any way after he seemingly tore off the company's logo from his jersey in a photoshoot for Slam Magazine.
Kawhi vs. Nike
Some might chalk up the case of the missing logo to the Los Angeles Clippers star's loyalty to New Balance, which he currently endorses. However, there could be a deeper reason behind it.
Before he signed a multiyear deal with New Balance, Leonard had been part of the Nike family from 2011 to 2018. After his contract ran out, the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year switched to New Balance.
The separation did not go smoothly, as Leonard and Nike became embroiled in a legal battle over the "Klaw" logo, which was used on his line of Jordan Brand sneakers.
After creating its initial design, he claimed to own the rights to the image and that Nike improperly copyrighted the logo. His original drawing and the one made by the company can be seen side-by-side below.
The court's decision
The court ruled in favor of Nike, stating that the logo was new and significantly different from the drawing Leonard conceptualized.
Because of the decision, the five-time All-Star has been unable to use the logo that obviously holds a deep meaning to him. Thus, it is unsurprising if he prefers not to be associated with the corporation.
Only time will tell if Leonard will receive any punishment from the league for the missing logo.