Kawhi Leonard, the superstar forward who is in his first season with the Toronto Raptors, has agreed to a new multiyear endorsement deal.
However, it’s not with any of the usual suspects: Nike’s Jordan Brand, Reebok, or Under Armour.
Leonard, 27, has signed a deal with New Balance, according to Yahoo Sports. The two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year—and 2014 NBA Finals MVP— had turned down an extension with Jordan Brand to become the face of New Balance basketball.
When the news of Leonard signing with New Balance got out, however, Black Twitter and NBA Twitter went to work on Kawhi choosing to endorse “dad shoes.”
New Balance: Kawhi, congratulations on the deal, what did you have in mind for a design?
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) November 28, 2018
New Balance makes basketball shoes??? pic.twitter.com/k9NQ76sPND
— Trevor Hargett (@twade_10) November 28, 2018
— Cassius Catallo (@CassiusCatallo) November 28, 2018
Live look at New Balance consumers hearing about the Kawhi Leonard signing. pic.twitter.com/kTaA6V9rDJ
— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) November 28, 2018
New Balance and Puma on NBA courts now? Never thought the day would come
— You Know Nigerians Don’t Fail (@O_Tunj) November 28, 2018
When you leave Jordan Brand to join New Balance. ? pic.twitter.com/FJUTlGsx7v
— B/R Kicks (@brkicks) November 28, 2018
While the shoes may be funny, Leonard’s play has been no laughing matter. Toronto owns the NBA’s best record at 18-4, and Leonard is averaging 24 points and almost nine rebounds a game.
Look for Drake to start wearing New Balance kicks while he’s sitting court-side.