Why Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard is suing Nike

In second half action, Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) takes a stolen ball and drops in a late game bucket. The Toronto Raptors beat the San Antonio Spurs 118-117 in NBA basketball action at the Scotiabank arena in Toronto. The game marks the first time former Raptor star DeMar DeRozan was back playing in Toronto since his trade. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)


Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard has more on his mind these days than just defeating the Golden State Warriors for a championship title.

The NBA star alleges that Nike stole his logo and infringed on his design when they filed for a copyright.

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On Monday, Leonard reportedly filed a federal lawsuit in Southern California to stop the brand and fight for his ‘Klaw’ logo. The athlete alleges that Nike filed the copyright without his authorization and under “false representation” that “Nike authored the logo.”

“Leonard traced his notably large hand, and, inside the hand, drew stylized versions of his initials “KL” and the number that he had worn for much of his career, ‘2,'” the suit reads, according to The Portland Business Journal.

“Unbeknownst to Leonard and without his consent, Nike filed an application for copyright registration of his logo and falsely represented in the application that Nike had authored the logo.”

Nike reportedly was granted the copyright called the ‘Kawhi Leonard logo’ (the ‘Klaw’ logo) on May 11, 2017. Leonard wants control and says Nike has no rights and that he designed the elements of the logo when he was in college.

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The issue likely stemmed from Leonard’s previous endorsement deal with the company’s Jordan Brand when he gave them approval to use the logo but with restrictions. That deal dissolved September 30, 2018 when he copped a multi-million dollar New Balance deal in November.

Leonard has helped the Raptors secure a Game one win against the Golden State Warriors and now the series is tied 1-1.