Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant has partnered with trading card company Panini America in a deal that will set KD up as the global NBA spokesman for the brand. Per Panini, the deal with include trading card, autograph, marketing and business development aspects, with KD and the company also launching a new TV ad campaign—the first spot can be viewed above.
Durant will have what the company is calling “unprecedented input” into the development of NBA trading cards. “Kevin has a passion and an understanding of our business and how it translates to engaging NBA and KD fans—whether you are collecting Panini trading cards or want to get autographed memorabilia of Kevin from Panini Authentic,” says Jason Howarth, Panini America’s VP of Marketing. “We’ve seen his level of interest grow from when he first joined Panini to understanding what we do, how we do it and want to be a part of that. As we move forward with the new partnership we’re excited to have the opportunity to get feedback and even encourage his creativity on designing trading cards or creating unique memorabilia items for his fans.”
Durant will also be featured on the packaging for Panini’s Donruss brand, which will be available at Walmarts across the country shortly before the 2016 NBA All-Star Game.
“[The partnership] is a testament to Kevin Durant’s status as a global superstar and cultural icon,” says Michael Yormark, President and Chief of Branding and Strategy at Roc Nation, which counts KD as a client. “Through Roc Nation’s close relationship with Panini, we were able to work together to create a unique and innovative partnership that will take advantage of Kevin’s creativity, passion and keen business mind. As fans and industry experts will see, Panini’s new marketing campaign featuring KD is fresh and dynamic and we are absolutely thrilled to announce this partnership ahead of All-Star Weekend and KD’s stretch run with the Thunder.”
Durant is averaging 26.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists this season, leading the Thunder to a 26-12 record. “I’ve been proud to work with Panini for the past five years,” he said in a press release. “They’ve been a great partner in terms of overall support and creativity, and I’m really looking forward to expanding my role with our new commercial and by working with their product development team for years to come.”