According to court documents, Leonard said he helped design his signature “Klaw” logo and that Nike filed for a formal copyright without receiving his consent.
“In 2011, just after being drafted to the National Basketball Association, Kawhi Leonard authorized a unique logo that included elements that were meaningful and unique to him,” the lawsuit reads. “Leonard traced his notably large hand, and, inside the hand, drew stylized versions of his initials ‘KL’ and the number that he had worn for much of his career, ‘2.’ The drawing Leonard authored was an extension and continuation of drawings he had been creating since early in his college career.
“Several years later, as part of an endorsement deal with Nike, Leonard allowed Nike to use on certain merchandise the logo he created while Leonard continued to use the logo on non-Nike goods. Unbeknownst to Leonard and without his consent, Nike filed an application for copyright registration of his logo and falsely represented in the application that Nike had authored the logo.”
The lawsuit also said Leonard intends to use the “Klaw” logo in clothing lines, footwear and in connection with sports camps and charity events, but Nike has objected to his plans. As a result, he wants to regain control of the logo.
Leonard was a Jordan Brand athlete for his entire NBA career until the two sides ended negotiations last year. Extension talks between the star forward and the Nike subsidiary stalled after he rejected a four-year, $22 million extension, according to ESPN.
After leaving Jordan, the three-time All-Star signed with New Balance last November.
Leonard and the Raptors take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.