SAN FRANCISCO—Raptors star Kawhi Leonard is embroiled not only in a difficult NBA finals against the Golden State Warriors, he’s now involved in a United States federal lawsuit against sports apparel giant Nike.
Law firms in New York and California filed a suit Monday on Leonard’s behalf against Nike, saying the company “falsely” claimed it created a logo that Leonard had developed early in his career, according to a story first reported by the Portland Business Journal.
Leonard did have an endorsement deal with Nike that expired. He has since signed a lucrative deal with New Balance and the suit claims Nike filed an application for copyright registration for the logo without Leonard permission or approval. The depiction, known as the Klaw logo, appeared on Leonard’s Nike apparel, the Business Journal reported.
Last week, the New York Times reported that the Los Angeles Clippers, expected to be the most aggressive suitor for Leonard when he becomes a free agent in July, were exploring buying a portion of the Klaw rights that were still owned by Nike. In a later development, the NBA fined the Clippers $50,000 U.S. for violating the league’s tampering rules after head coach Doc Rivers had complimentary things to say about Leonard in a radio interview.
Leonard was not available for comment. The Portland Business Journal reported that neither Nike nor Leonard’s lawyers had immediate comment on the suit.
Source: Toronto Star