It seems like ages ago when Steph Curry and Under Armor had the most popular basketball shoe, and for the first time in a long time, a shoe brand looked like they could challenge Nike. That didn't happen, but the story got talked about so many big-name players started to consider up and coming brands a lot more. Then Kawhi Leonard signed with New Balance. Today they announced his first signature shoe.
The shoe features a mid-cut silhouette with a technical mesh base reinforced by matching heat-welded overlays and synthetic panels at the toe. Branding elements come in the form of a distinct 3D New Balance logo at the rear, KAWHI branding on the tongue, and the player’s signature on the heel tab. Elevating the shoe is a sculpted foam midsole paired with a treaded, icey rubber sole.
We never learned the truth about Kawhi's San Antonio episode and drama. Still, one of the reasons mentioned was Kawhi's desire to have a shoe deal, and being in San Antonio presented market size issues. New Balance signed with Kawhi while he was in Toronto, and he is now playing in LA, so that argument is off the table.
Most people talked about Kawhi's lack of social media presence, and overall introverted nature is the biggest roadblock in getting a shoe deal that would match his status as a player. In recent times, we saw New Balance and Kawhi play to his reputation. Time will tell can the quietest man in the NBA find a way to promote and sell a signature shoe. Will board man get paid?