New Balance takes inspiration from Kawhi Leonard's buzzer-beater for new signature sneaker

(New Balance)

With time winding down, the Scotiabank Arena collectively held their breath as Kawhi Leonard rose up on the baseline over the outstretched hand of Joel Embiid.





The ball toyed with going in, then falling out, and going back in again, as a roar exploded around the arena, with Leonard burying just the second shot in NBA history to end the series in a do-or-die game.

Leonard's historic shot helped propel Toronto towards their first-ever NBA championship and fittingly, New Balance took inspiration from his iconic postseason moment for the release of his first signature sneaker, the KAWHI "4 Bounces".

The "4 Bounces" comes in a black, blue, and gold colourway, a nod to New Balance OMN1S "2-Way" that he wore when he sunk the 'Four Bounces' shot, with the sneaker featuring a host of custom features that tell Kawhi's story.

The back heel features the letter 'M' detailing the longitude/latitude coordinates of Kawhi's hometown Moreno Valley, California, while the upper features a nod to his 1964 Chevy Impala car.

The detail on the strap of the sneaker is a nod to his famous cornrow hairstyle, with a list of his NBA accolades inside the tongue.

"We'd originally announced our partnership and New Balance basketball in general, at All-Star [Weekend] last year, and everything was great," says Patrick Cassidy, Global Marketing Director of Consumer and Athlete Activation at New Balance.

"People were intrigued, momentum was solid, people loved the shoe he was wearing. But there was something about that last-minute, Game 7 shot against the Sixers that was so improbable-and so clutch, rising above the moment and the pressure-that acted as jet fuel for Kawhi, New Balance basketball, and our partnership together."

Leonard debuted the New Balance OMN1S at the All-Star Weekend in Charlotte and from there his career has gone on to even bigger heights, bringing New Balance into the spotlight on basketball's biggest stage.

The "4 Bounces" brings a strong combination of performance and design with the FuelCell midsoles offering energy return for Leonard's dynamic playing style, with the performance plate, which extends across the entire midsole designed to provide stability.

The mesh knit upper uses Kinetic Stitch technology, which features "data-driven thread application" to provide support in key areas of the shoe.

The KAWHI "4 Bounces" will be released on August 20, 2020.

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