Stephen Curry has officially asserted himself as the biggest superstar in the NBA – a fact that essentially no one could’ve seen coming.
And while the five teams (Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves) who selected players before Curry in the 2009 Draft might cry themselves to sleep wondering what might’ve been, no one was more blindsided than the global sports apparel brand, Nike.
Just recently, the backstory behind Curry’s decision to spurn Nike and head to Under Armour in 2013 became public. Little did Nike realize at the time, but the skinny, unassuming point guard they were delivering their pitch to was about to burst onto the scene in the biggest way imaginable.
Having spent the first four seasons of his career sponsored by Nike, Steph entered the 2013 offseason as a ‘free agent endorser,’ having every intention of sticking with the same brand.
However, Nike’s disinterested presentation to Steph and his father, Dell, involved them mispronouncing his name (Steph-ON instead of Steph-IN), showing a Powerpoint slideshow that featured the name ‘Kevin Durant’ instead of ‘Stephen Curry,’ and an unwillingness to let Curry host a Nike-sponsored camp for younger players.
Completely unimpressed with what was presented before them, Dell advised his son to test his other options. When Under Armour had visions of making Steph the face of their brand, Curry had no problem taking the leap of faith.
But as if it wasn’t bad enough by Nike, they even had a chance to match Under Armour’s offer that was worth less than $4 million per year. Nike declined, Curry secured his first MVP award and NBA title one year later, and is now the most recognizable athlete on the planet.
As the saying goes, “one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.” Nike’s garbage just happened to be worth a 350% increase in shoe sales for their direct competitor.