Much like Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri, New Balance struck gold with their acquisition of Kawhi Leonard. Despite Leonard’s reserved personality, his first signature shoe with the brand, the New Balance OMN1s, have been front and center throughout Leonard’s playoff run, and the first batch made available to the public sold out almost immediately. Leonard also debuted a black and gold colorway of the kicks for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
New Balance is pushing their marketing campaign with Leonard even further, this time with a billboard sprouting up in Oakland near Oracle Arena, where the Golden State Warriors will host games three and four of the Finals. Leonard, with his arms folded and rocking a New Balance sweatshirt, appears to the left of some text that reads “The King Of The North is Coming.” To Leonard’s right are the crossed off names of the teams Toronto has dispatched on their way to Finals. Golden State appears at the bottom as the last team remaining.
While Leonard was relatively quiet in Toronto’s Game 1 win, scoring 23 points on just 5-for-14 shooting from the field, he still found a way to get to the free throw line where he went 10-for-12. Toronto won handily without a typical game from Leonard, and if he returns to form in Game 2, it’s not hard to imagine the Raptors heading to Oakland up 2-0. If that’s the case, that smile on Leonard’s face on the billboard might grow even wider.