The mispronunciation of a first name, a recycled Power Point presentation, and a toddler’s taste in footwear all factored in Nike losing the NBA’s biggest star to rival Under Armour.
In a long exploration of Nike’s major mistake, ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss noted the sportswear leader muffed its chance to secure Curry in its stable of big name basketball athletes through a long series of missteps that showed the company’s blasé indifference to his rising star.
Since his NBA debut as a first round, seventh overall pick in 2009, Curry has become one of the most exciting players on the hardwoods. In fact, the young North Carolinian is already being considered one of the greatest shooters of all time. He has amassed many accolades and helped lead the Warriors to the NBA Championship in 2015. Along with being the NBA’s most valuable player that year he is also a three times NBA All-Star from 2014 to 2016. And that is just to start as he has a long list of achievements going back to college.
As to his sportswear contract, it is reported that Curry’s worth to Under Armour (UA) is an amazing $14 billion.
On March 3, 2016, Business Insider noted that Curry has been a boon to UA. “UA’s U.S. basketball shoe sales have increased over 350 percent YTD. Its Stephen Curry signature shoe business is already bigger than those of LeBron, Kobe and every other player except Michael Jordan. If Curry is the next Jordan, our call will likely be wrong.”
But as ESPN’s Strauss reports, Nike had its chance to keep Curry in its stable of NBA stars and muffed the whole deal from word go.
As Strauss continued his report, he revealed that Nike didn’t bother to offer Curry the chance to lead a training camp — something he really wanted to do — didn’t give him much personal attention, delivered a Power Point presentation with Kevin Durant’s name in it, and even mispronounced his name during a pitch session!
Even after Curry announced he wanted to go with UA in 2013 Nike still had an opportunity to keep him on its team by matching the mere $4 million offer UA had given him to kick off their association. And as Strauss notes, $4 million is chump change to a company worth $16 billion.
By some accounts, losing Curry was one of Nike’s biggest goofs. As Strauss notes, Sonny Vaccaro said, “This is Nike’s biggest fear. They can’t overcome this in the shoe business. This is going to be detrimental to them. Psychologically.”
But maybe Nike was never in the running in the first place. All because Curry’s one-year-old toddler made the final decision.
“My favorite story is Riley,” Curry has said of his early decision process. Strauss goes on to explain, “it’s a few weeks before a final decision on the shoe contract must be made. At his agent Jeff Austin’s house in Hermosa Beach, California, Curry surveys the array of shoes before him. He asks his baby daughter, ‘Riley, which one do you like?'”
At this point, Riley is little over 1 year old. She is presented with a Nike sneaker, an Adidas sneaker and an Under Armour sneaker. She picks up “shoe one,” a Nike. “Threw it over her shoulder,” Curry says. “She picked up shoe two, threw it over her shoulder. She picked up the third shoe, walked over and handed it to me.” It was the Under Armour Anatomix Spawn. “So I knew right then,” Curry says, smiling.
However it went down, the fact remains that Steph Curry has become one of the most amazing young players in the NBA and Under Armour is laughing all the way to the bank.
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