In the middle of the NBA Finals, Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard is engaging in another high-stakes battle.
Leonard on Monday filed a lawsuit against Nike, claiming the shoe and sports apparel manufacturer claimed ownership of a logo Leonard designed in filing an application for copyright protection.
In a nine-page filing before the U.S. District Court in Southern California, Leonard alleges Nike committed fraud and he is seeking control over the use of the logo going forward.
Leonard had an endorsement deal with Nike that expired on Sept. 20, 2018, according to the lawsuit. He now has a deal with New Balance.
Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard drives to the basket against Warriors center Kevon Looney during Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Toronto. (Photo: John E. Sokolowski, USA TODAY Sports)
The suit says "the drawing Leonard authored was an extension and continuation of drawings he had been creating since early in his college career." The logo features an outline of Leonard's hand with the initials KL and the number 2 inside.
Leonard claims he gave Nike permission to use the logo "on certain merchandise" while Leonard continued to use it "on non-Nike goods."
He says Nike has now objected to him using the logo and he is seeking to regain control of it for use "on clothing lines, footwear and on other products."
Nike has not commented on the lawsuit.
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