Yahoo just made a decision to go after the New Balance company as a whole. Assaf Swissa, founder of the Boston marketing agency Superdigital, said New Balance may be targeting foreign consumers. "I think New Balance is still the No. 1 sneaker in Japan". Leonard will become the highest-profile member of New Balance's basketball roster and reportedly will earn a hefty salary for doing so.
The deal comes after the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Years's contract with Nike's Jordan brand expired on October 31 after stalled contract talks.
It was announced yesterday that Leonard left Nike's Jordan brand and signed with the Massachussets-based New Balance sneaker brand. Averaging 24.3 points, 3.1 assists, and 8.6 rebounds per game, Kawhi is his team's unquestioned leader on the court, helping the Raptors to a league-best 18-4 record. The per-year figure from New Balance would rank among the top-15 shoe deals in the National Basketball Association, according to ESPN.
New Balance's only other move so far in entering the basketball market came this summer when they hired the No. 13 ESPN Class of 2018 Top 100 recruit Darius Bazley as an intern under a one million dollar stipend. The brand was known in the NBA throughout the late 1980s with the launch of its James Worthy signature shoe, and last released performance basketball models during the late 2000s.