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When they re-entered the basketball shoe market, New Balance was clear on its mission. "We don’t want to be the biggest, we want to be the best,” says New Balance director of consumer marketing. Their strategy, therefore, is quite different from the ones adopted by the much more prominent Nike and Adidas. In a nutshell, New Balance is silent and systematic, low-key, and careful.
NB leadership sought an endorser that will embody what their brand stands for, and they found a really good fit in Kawhi Leonard, who is quite silent and reserved but beastly on the court.
True to their values, New Balance released Kawhi's first signature shoe only after their comeback model OMN1S took center stage. They say that the Leonard's signature shoe went through a lengthy development process to ensure quality and on-court effectiveness. Known as the New Balance Kawhi, Leonard's first signature shoe was finally released in late 2020.
Kawhi Leonard shoes and Darius Bazley
Kawhi's New Balance made a comeback at around the same time as Puma and Converse. To establish their presence, NB must be partners with more players in the league. Aside from Kawhi Leonard, New Balance Basketball also has Darius Bazley on their side. He was drafted into the NBA only in 2019, but given his potential, he might also have his own signature line in the future. In the meantime, he wears in his games New Balance's celebrated shoe releases such as the OMN1S and Kawhi's own signature sneakers.