Spanish bank BBVA signs $100 million marketing deal with NBA

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BBVA.jpgWhen you flipped away from NFL Sunday to watch some of the WNBA finals… well, if you had (and you should have to watch Sue Bird drain a free throw line jumper with 2.6 seconds left to give Seattle the win), you would have noticed something:

Both teams had the logo for BBVA on their jerseys.

Which would have led you to Google BBVA.

The answer is they are a Spanish bank making inroads in the United States, and they have signed a new $100 million marketing deal with the NBA and its partners, the WNBA and D-League. The NBA has confirmed the story, but the New York Times has the money numbers.

BBVA likes to use sports as a marketing tool, it is the title sponsor of La Liga, Spain’s premier soccer division (Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, etc.). This gives the NBA a chance to expand its name into Spain, which is the best reason for David Stern to push for this. Well, that and the $100 million.

BBVA — using the name BBVA Compass here in the United States — has purchased banks and started to make its presence felt in Texas and through the Southern United States. It now has more than 700 branches here with continuing plans for expansion. However, it has very little presence through most of the nation, including the Northeast that is a big part of the NBA’s core. BBVA also is one of the largest banks in Mexico.

And it wants to grow its name recognition here in the States, which is where these deals come in. You’ll see plenty of BBVA on national game broadcasts this season. If you’re in Spain to watch the Lakers take on FC Barcelona in a preseason friendly next month then: 1) You’re lucky; 2) you’ll see a whole lot of BBVA tie ins there.

You’ll be seeing a lot of BBVA, now you know why.

Watch Kawhi Leonard chop boards ‘karate styyyle’ (video)

AP Photo/Eric Gay
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Kawhi Leonard, enabled by the Spurs’ no-nonsense culture, is probably the NBA’s most boring superstar.

He’s widely recognized as the league’s best defender, and he has worked himself into an elite offensive threat. He has already won a Finals MVP, and regular-season MVP could eventually be in the cards.

But Leonard is notoriously reserved. For someone who has been on this stage for so long, we know little about him.

Except we now know he apparently likes karate.

Leonard:

Gonna chop y’all up. Look at all of us. Karate styyyle.

If “karate styyyle” doesn’t become Leonard’s catchphrase, I don’t even know what we’re doing.

Leonard will finally have the chance to chop up an NBA opponent tonight, when he makes his return from injury.

Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

Kevin Durant brings fan to tears with autographed shoes (video)

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Kevin Durant has become a villain to many.

Clearly not to this Warriors fan, though.

Carmelo Anthony leaves without speaking to media, will probably get fined

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
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Lately, Carmelo Anthony has parsed whether the Thunder are frustrated or angry and said he’s going through the roughest stretch of his career.

It didn’t get any better last night.

Anthony scored 11 points on 12 shots with three turnovers, and Oklahoma City got outscored by 21 points with him on the floor in a home loss to the Hornets. The Thunder have now lost two of three, falling to the lowly Nets and Hornets and needing overtime to beat the freefalling Grizzlies.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Anthony today:

I’m sorry. My bad. I had a FaceTime session with my son, so I skipped out on you guys yesterday. I apologize. It’s true, though. That’s true. It’s true. He had a school night.

The NBA’s media-access rules state: “All players must be available to the media for a minimum of five to 10 minutes during the postgame media access period.” It’s been a while since someone got punished for violating the policy, but Kevin Garnett was fined $25,000 for not speaking to the media after Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference finals.

I’m sympathetic to Anthony wanting to speak to his son, who’s still in New York. But the league tends not to take these personal concerns into consideration, which is probably for the best. There’s a rule. Anthony violated it. Assessing which personal calls should supersede the rule is a can of worms not worth opening. Besides, Anthony probably could have returned to the locker room for an interview after concluding the call.

Anthony earns a lot of money. If he wanted to risk a $25,000 fine to speak with his son, I have absolutely no problem with that. But that’s probably the choice he made.

In my experience, Anthony has been forthright with the media. He spent years as the face of the Knicks, dutifully answering for problems created by James Dolan and Phil Jackson. Because he was available nearly daily while his superiors avoided interviews, Anthony was the grilled by the New York media.

I bet he expected a reprieve in Oklahoma City. Instead, the spotlight has shined on him as a problem with the underwhelming Thunder.

It’s understandable he’d rather talk to his son than reporters. But it’s also understandable the NBA wants to promote its business through the media, and the league has power to enforce its rules.

Grizzlies fan absolutely owns kids halftime scrimmage (video)

AP Photo/Brandon Dill
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The Grizzlies lost for the 15th time in their last 16 games, a 25-point drubbing at home against the Heat, last night.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom in Memphis.

This young fan – while playing in the halftime scrimmage – stopped his dribble, stepped on the ball, whipped off his youth jersey to reveal a Marc Gasol jersey, flexed, re-started his dribbled then drove for a basket.

Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation:

The Grizzlies don’t deserve this hero.