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Kia Motors signs NBA All-Star Blake Griffin as global spokesperson

The Irvine-based auto manufacturer seeks to expand its worldwide presence through the deal.

BY derek larsonPublished: July 05, 2011

Kia Motors America announced on Wednesday that the Irvine-based auto manufacturer has partnered with NBA All-Star and Los Angeles Clipper Blake Griffin. The business relationship began last February, when Griffin famously leapt over a Kia Optima to win the 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest during this year’s All-Star pre-game festivities.

With year-to-date sales up a record 44.8 percent and a 16th consecutive year showing an increased U.S. market share, Kia hopes the deal will further establish the company in the American automotive market.

Already the “Official Automotive Partner of the NBA,” Kia wishes to expand its presence in professional basketball – and its millions of fans throughout the world – with the addition of Griffin to its marketing efforts.

As Michael Sprague, Kia Motors America’s vice president of marketing and communications, put it, “With Kia’s U.S. market share at an all-time high and rising fast, we are more focused than ever on continuing to raise the brand’s profile with highly visible strategic partnerships.”

The addition of Griffin adds to Kia’s already large number of sports-based business relationships. Pro golfer Michelle Wie is a Kia spokesperson, and the automaker funds the LPGA’s annual Kia Classic. And Kia's entry won last April’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, a GRAND-AM series race.

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