Much has been made about Kawhi Leonard’s personality, but a video surfaced of the All-Star celebrating his second NBA championship with a bottle of champagne. The video looks to have been taken in the Raptors locker room as they celebrated the franchise’s first NBA title.
Leonard not only won his second NBA title but also his second finals MVP. The Raptors traded for Leonard prior to the season knowing he only had one year left on his contract. Leonard will be a free agent next month but noted after the game that he would think about his future at a later date. Raptors head coach Nick Nurse admitted to being nervous when he first met Leonard.
“There’s a certain sense of, I don’t know if nervousness is the right word, but a little bit of uneasiness,” Nurse told The Athletic. “You want to make a good first impression. It’s obviously a big move for the organization. You want it to go well. Knowing he was not known as a guy who said much … of anything at all, I considered what would happen if he didn’t really say anything. What was I gonna do?”
New Balance Incorporated Kawhi Leonard’s Perceived Reputation Into Its Marketing Campaign
Leonard signed with New Balance prior to the start of the season, and the company has tried to take advantage of the All-Star’s reputation. The company has used the slogan “Fun Guy” as part of their marketing campaign. Toronto shoe influencer Anna Bediones spoke about why the New Balance campaign has had success.
“I feel like his new partnership with NB is a much better fit, and they’re doing a great job playing with his quirky personality traits,” Bediones explained to Footwear News. “What we, or maybe just I, once considered ‘boring’ is now being rebranded into a really fun persona for him that embraces his personality. Seeing ‘Fun Guy’ on the chest of a man who never smiles is a brilliant play. The sneakers themselves are cool — in fact, I recently felt a more urgent calling to get myself a pair of NBs, stat. Not to mention he’s a great basketball player, and he is bringing a new energy to Toronto.“
Teammate Kyle Lowry emphasized that Leonard is just like any of the other players on the team and enjoys having fun even if he does not show that side of himself to the media.
“Right away, first day [realized Kawhi was special,” Lowry said, per The Athletic. “People don’t know, he really is an unbelievable dude, really an unbelievable guy. It’s fortunate for us to be on our team and to be around him. He jokes. He really laughs and has fun with everything. He really is a good guy.”
Leonard averaged 28.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and two steals per game in the NBA finals. It will be interesting to see if there will be more of Leonard dancing in Toronto next season.