Stephen Curry is one of the most influential players in NBA history. The impact Curry has had on the modern game, thanks to his legendary shooting ability, is almost unparalleled.
Curry’s influence on the game has also made him one of the most popular players in the world, something that also makes him a lucrative endorsement figure for brands. Curry famously signed with Under Armour, and recently, he explained why he did that.
Stephen Curry was a guest on his teammate Draymond Green’s podcast recently. Green and Curry discussed Curry’s rookie contract extension, a deal that was slammed massively at the time.
Green then asked Stephen Curry whether his rookie extension had anything to do with him snubbing Nike in favor of Under Armour. Curry noted that was true, and he wanted to bet on himself while also taking the opportunity with Under Armour, something he is very happy with (3:44 onwards).
“Yes, nobody has really put two and two together. It was an opportunity to, there’s always that theme in the league, where always there’s that contract extension, bet on yourself. What does that mean? Like a Nerlens Noel-type situation, you have somebody like Deandre Ayton. Guys that have good money on the table, how it works out, we’ll see. Knowing I had 4 years on the table, had to survey the free agency situation, had to see where I was at on that side of my career, building something from scratch, giving myself the chance to put my fingerprint on a brand from the ground up and have a company that was going to invest behind me, that was a huge opportunity. It was going against the grain a little bit. At that time, the stable that Nike had… The fact that I got to go and get into the signature shoe game, build a brand, be an aspiring storyteller around things that are important to me. 9 years removed from that… Hopefully something that will continue to be part of the legacy for years to come. That was me betting on myself. It’s been a fun process since day one and I don’t know if I would have made that decision had things gone differently with the contract stuff.”
Curry has been able to do wonders for the Under Armour brand. Prior to Stephen Curry, Under Armour had almost no presence in the NBA.
Since then, their shoes have become extremely popular, thanks to how popular Curry is. Curry and Under Armour found so much success together that they even released a signature shoe for Curry, making him only the second athlete after Michael Jordan to have his own signature shoe.
Curry's signing with Under Armour and his subsequent success in the NBA was also a warning sign for Nike, that just because they are the most popular basketball shoe brand in the world, that doesn’t guarantee that NBA players would sign with them.
Since then, Nike has also made sure to improve their recruitment strategy, locking down some big NBA names right now to ensure they never experience the same situation as they did with Curry.