Because Kawhi Leonard is simultaneously one of the best basketball players on earth and an intensely private, soft-spoken individual, he has a very unusual kind of marketability.
When he pops up somewhere people pay attention — and he already showed during last year’s championship run with the Toronto Raptors that he’s capable of moving merchandise. New Balance’s rise from utter irrelevance to must-have status north of the border is proof of that. If his latest New Balance ad is any indication, his shoes will be a hit in Los Angeles, too.
So, when he teams up with a five-star name like Arnold Schwarzenegger, you get real fireworks — and that’s what happened on Tuesday:
As long as you go in with the right expectations this is pretty damn good. There is an argument to be made that Leonard has the charisma of an underripe breadfruit, but he’s actually slightly less wooden that usual here. If anything, it’s probably Paul George whose delivery stands out as being awkward when he defends his teammate’s laugh.
But the real reason the spot succeeds — other than the impact of the big ticket cast — is because it hits on so many iconic Kawhi moments in such a short period of time.
In a single minute this promo for Terminator: Dark Fate touches on:
Kawhi being nicknamed the Terminator
Kawhi’s general reluctance to accept accolades
That’s pretty good punchline efficiency. Whether the Kawhi stamp of approval brings people out to the latest Terminator movie remains to be seen, but in just 60 seconds he brought a little juice to a franchise that’s in pretty bad need of it.