Kawhi Leonard sues Nike over use of 'KL' hand logo

Leonard alleges Nike copyrighted logo without his consent

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Kawhi Leonard has filed a federal lawsuit against Nike over use of the "KL" hand logo, which became a popular logo for the former Spurs All-Star during his time in San Antonio.

Leonard, now with the Toronto Raptors, signed an endorsement deal with New Balance last fall after negotiations with Jordan Brand fell apart last season. Jordan Brand is a Nike subsidiary.

The lawsuit, obtained by KSAT-12, claims Leonard designed and authored the logo before he signed with Nike.

The suit claims Leonard then allowed Nike to use the logo on Leonard branded apparel and footwear after he signed an endorsement deal with the company on Oct. 26, 2011.

The company then copyrighted the logo without Leonard's consent in May 2017, the lawsuit claims. 

Leonard and Nike officially ended their endorsement relationship on Sept. 30, 2018.

Leonard said in the lawsuit he intends to use the logo in the future on apparel and footwear.

Leonard was wearing a jacket with the logo on it during his postgame press conference Sunday night after Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

The logo also remains on Leonard's rarely used official Twitter account.

(Image via Kawhi Leonard's Twitter account.)

In the lawsuit, Leonard claims he traced his hand and drew his initials inside, along with his jersey number, 2, years before he signed with Nike. He said he started to create the logo while he was still in college.

Leonard also claimed he used the logo many times before for non-Nike events such as basketball camps or appearances.

Leonard's legal representatives have asked the court to make Leonard the sole author of the logo and rule his usage of the logo in the future would not infringe on any of Nike's rights on the basis that the company committed fraud when it submitted for the copyright and registered the KL logo. 

The full lawsuit is below:  

Kawhi Leonard lawsuit again... by on Scribd

About the Author:

RJ Marquez has been at KSAT since 2010. He's covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area, and is the lead reporter for KSAT Explains. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms. You can see RJ regularly on KSAT Explains and Good Morning San Antonio. He also writes a weekly Spurs newsletter.