New Balance Rumors
By 2018, concurrent with the R&D team, New Balance began pitching potential endorsees with the goal of bringing a shoe to market in October 2019. Remember, the typical turnaround is a year and a half. These early pitches didn’t have prototypes or samples. It was all theoretical, just hope and hunger waiting for a chance to come to life. During this time, the design team received word that Kawhi Leonard was on the radar. Usually a player of this caliber doesn’t ever hit the free agency market, but he had turned down a four-year, $22 million extension with Jordan Brand in March 2018 and the company announced that it would let him walk in October 2018.
“We went from the world not knowing about New Balance Basketball in October (2018) to ‘Can we get him in a New Balance shoe by the All-Star game in February (2019)?’ ” Grondin said. “I’ve been enjoying it. One of the reasons that I came is I wanted to build and start something of my own,” Leonard explained in late January, after being asked why he chose to sign a multiyear contract with New Balance in the neighborhood of $5 million annually. “Start with this new company in basketball and they’ve been great. And we’re going to keep building this relationship from here.”
“We’re not going to turn Kawhi into an Instagram comedian,” Cassidy said when asked about the brand’s conscious decision to heavily lean into Leonard’s eccentricities. New Balance followed that up with another billboard, this one reading “Board Man Gets Titles,” a reference to a story by The Athletic that went viral last season. Merchandise followed in the form of plain black t-shirts with “Fun Guy” in the most ho-hum box lettering imaginable.
New Balance Basketball announced today the endorsement deal with San Antonio Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray. To officially welcome him to the New Balance family, Murray is featured in a new commercial spot where he “inspires us with a little motivation” and reveals the black and white OMN1S colorway “Lights Out” launching globally December 4th. The commercial’s tone is tongue-in-cheek, set by Murray naming himself a “hair icon” – but his message is from the heart. He dispenses motivational tidbits like “success isn’t a straight line” and “find your own path”, but these truisms find real meaning for a player like Murray, whose road to starting point guard has been anything but conventional. Before Murray earned a reputation as a rising star in the league and an endorsement deal with global athletic leader New Balance, he had to first put in the work.
RJ Marquez: #Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray made it official today…he’s signed an endorsement deal with @newbalancehoops…DJ has been wearing @newbalance apparel throughout season. #GoSpursGo #NBA pic.twitter.com/Air3WCmkUn