Roots shows Kawhi Leonard some (g)love

Despite numerous attempts to keep him in Toronto with promises of free meals, a multimillion dollar penthouse and even an offer to pay his entire five-year salary up front, NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard bolted from the Raptors in 2019 after one spectacular season.

But Roots thinks it has come up with a way to lure the man known as “The Klaw” back to the city he spurned for the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles: a pair of oversized gloves for his massive hands. The retailer introduced the gloves—which eschew the usual L/XL sizing in favour of something called KL/FG (for Kawhi Leonard/Fun Guy)—via its Twitter account this week, tagging Leonard in a message reading, in part, “if you ever come back to Canada, we’ve got you covered.”


It all started with Leonard’s pre-Christmas appearance on the late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where the discussion turned to the size of the NBA all-star’s hands and his inability to do simple things, like put his hands in his pockets. “Is that why you left Toronto, because your hands were cold?” asked Kimmel. “I couldn’t find gloves that fit me,” Leonard responded.

DDB Canada immediately sensed a marketing opportunity for Roots. “We thought this tongue-in-cheek dig from Canada’s former ‘Fun Guy’ was a great opportunity for Roots to enter the conversation and offer up a solution,” said ACD Daniel Szczepanek. “Kawhi has yet to respond, but we’re hoping it’ll be enough to entice him to come back to where he belongs when he once again becomes a free agent this summer.”

It’s just the latest example of a brand taking advantage of the rapidity and reach afforded by social media to seize on a cultural moment. The tweet was picked up by several prominent media outlets, including the Toronto Sun, BlogTO and The Daily Hive, earning more than 750 likes and more than 150 retweets.

It’s perhaps worth noting here that Leonard’s last Twitter post was all the way back in 2015, and he told Kimmel during the interview that he didn’t even know his password, so it’s unlikely he’s seen the offer.

But with the Raptors off to an ugly 1-6 start, and having been foiled in their bid to land the NBA’s two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, they could sure use an oversized hand or two right about now.

Chris Powell