The Story of How Nike Lost Steph Curry to Under Armour Is Hilarious
Steph Curry has been underestimated at every stage of his career. That’s pretty hard to imagine now, given the way he’s eviscerated NBA defenses the past two seasons. But it’s true. He was a stud in high school, but he didn’t fit the profile of a star so he couldn’t get a scholarship from a big-time college program. Then, even after leading the NCAA in scoring with 28.5 points per game in his final year at Davidson, six NBA teams passed on him before the Golden State Warriors took him with the no. 7 pick.
Well actually, five teams passed on him. The Minnesota Timberwolves passed on him twice.
Still, the biggest underestimation of Steph Curry belongs to the folks at Nike. Steph Curry had been with Nike forever, but his contract expired after the 2012-13 season. That summer, after Curry had averaged 22.9 points per game in the regular season and announced his arrival as an NBA superstar with explosive performances in the playoffs, Nike made their pitch for the Warriors point guard to resign with them. And they totally blew it.
ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss just dropped an excellent new piece about how Curry came to be the face of Under Armour. Check out this excerpt about Curry’s fateful meeting with Nike in August of 2013:
The pitch meeting, according to Steph’s father Dell, who was present, kicked off with one Nike official accidentally addressing Stephen as “Steph-on,” the moniker, of course, of Steve Urkel’s alter ego in Family Matters. “I heard some people pronounce his name wrong before,” says Dell Curry. “I wasn’t surprised. I was surprised that I didn’t get a correction.
It got worse from there. A PowerPoint slide featured Kevin Durant’s name, presumably left on by accident, presumably residue from repurposed materials. “I stopped paying attention after that,” Dell says. Though Dell resolved to “keep a poker face,” throughout the entirety of the pitch, the decision to leave Nike was in the works.
That’s right. Someone who’s job it was to convince Steph Curry to sign an endorsement deal with Nike couldn’t even pronounce his name correctly. And they left Kevin Durant‘s name in the PowerPoint presentation.
It was clear to Curry that he was not one of Nike’s priorities. So he went and signed with Under Armour, who had been pursuing him for months.
Last year UA’s U.S. basketball shoes business increased over 350% thanks to the fact that Steph Curry’s signature shoe is outselling both LeBron’s and Kobe’s.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]