ESPN Explains How Nike Lost Steph Curry To Under Armour

ESPN recently reported the story behind NBA MVP Steph Curry’s decision to make the transition from Nike Inc NKE to Under Armour Inc UA back in the off season in 2013. In August of that year, Curry met with representatives from Nike.

According to Curry’s father Dell, who was present at the meeting, Nike made several critical blunders that gave Curry the impression that he was not a priority for the company. The meeting got off to a rocky start when one Nike official mispronounced Curry’s first name. After that, a slide in Nike’s PowerPoint presentation mistakenly contained Kevin Durant’s name instead of Curry’s, presumably an indication of the cookie-cutter approach that Nike was taking with its NBA endorsement deals.


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“I stopped paying attention after that,” Dell told ESPN. “They have Kobe, LeBron and Durant, who were their three main guys. If he signed back with them, we’re on that second tier.”

Instead, Curry decided to make the jump to Under Armour, where he felt he would have a chance to become the company’s signature athlete. Less than three years later, Morgan Stanley estimates Curry’s potential worth to Under Armour at $14 billion.

Of course, few people saw Curry becoming such a cultural icon at that time, but Nike is now certainly wishing they had proofread their PowerPoint slides prior to that meeting.

Disclosure: the author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.

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