Getting sponsored by Nike can be an athlete’s dream. A contract with Nike means fame and fortune. The leading sports brand has contracts with LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Tiger Woods, and Cristiano Ronaldo. But one of the greatest NBA stars, Stephen Curry, is not among these athletes. The reason behind it is so stupid and Nike lost $14 billion for it.
1. Signing Curry Should Have Been A No-Brainer
Initially, no one doubted that Curry would be wearing a pair of Nikes to start his NBA career, since he already had so many ties with the brand. Curry’s godfather, Greg Brink, worked for Nike and for his entire college career, Curry had always worn Nike shoes.
Upon being drafted 7th overall pick, everyone thought Nike would lock up Curry with a deal. But a clueless Nike executive made such a dumb mistake and it would eventually cost them millions.
2. They Managed To Snag Curry, But Only For Four Years
Nike has been the top sports brand in America for so many years cause they know talent when they see it. They managed to snag Curry under a four-year deal that would last until 2013, the year Curry set the NBA on fire.
The talented basketball player scored a career-high 54 points at Madison Square Garden and set the single-season record for 3-pointers in 2013, while wearing Nike shoes. So, it only made sense for Nike to re-sign Curry, right?
3. Curry Began Hearing Pitches From Other Brands
As Curry’s contract with Nike was about to expire, he started hearing pitches from other brands. But Nike was still able to match any offer that became available to Curry if they wanted. They presented Nike’s offer to Curry and his father, former NBA player Dell Curry, at the Oakland Marriott.
What happened at the meeting? Why would Curry turn down Nike?
4. Curry Learned He Was Not In The Top Tier Players Of Nike
Nike had its own way of ranking athletes. They had a list of top tier athletes who were given special treatment. The list included Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, but not Stephen Curry. The executives made it clear at that meeting.
You can only imagine how Curry and his father felt when they heard the news, but what happened next, as Curry’s father put it, was “appalling”.
5. The Person Pitching Curry Mis-Pronounced His Name
Not only did Nike make it seem like Curry was only an afterthought, but they also mispronounced Curry’s first name. Instead of calling him Steph-En, the presenter referred to him as Steph-On. What’s more, no one in the room tried to correct him.
That was disrespectful, but what turned Curry away from Nike was something else.
6. Curry Was Undervalued
As the meeting continued, it became crystal clear that Nike had fatally undervalued Curry. They gave youth development camps to even younger and unproven players like Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving, instead of Curry.
That especially hurt Curry because it had always been his desire to help younger players develop. He had himself received a lot of help in the camps, so he wanted a chance to give back to the community. However, Nike denied him the opportunity.
7. Out With The Old, In With The New
At the time, Kyrie Irving was an up and coming star who played the same position as Curry. Perhaps Nike liked his swag more. Whatever the excuse might be, Nike’s presentation to Curry was later proven to be one of the biggest failures in the company’s history and has cost them $14 billion. To make matters worse there was another blunder that insulted Curry even more.
8. Nike Dropped The Ball…
To make matters even worse, on one of the Powerpoint slides, Kevin Durant’s name was left in because it was the same slide they had presented to him, and they didn’t even have the courtesy to change it. Curry and his father were so angry that they simply stopped listening altogether. Later Nike sent Curry a $2.5 million contract. But Curry decided he was worth much more.
As it turns out, Curry was worth $14 billion more…
9. Bet On Himself
After the meeting with Nike, it was clear that the sporting brand did not value Curry. But he was no stranger to being overlooked. When he came out of college, he wasn’t recruited and not many analysts believed him. So after the Nike presentation, Curry decided to bet on himself and prove people wrong.
10. Under Armour Decided To Roll The Dice
At that time, Under Armour decided to snag Curry and put $4 million on the table. It was a huge gamble for the brand since Curry had only played 26 games the year before because of injury. Many thought he was too injury-prone, but Under Armour decided to roll the dice.
You won’t believe how much Curry increased the value of Under Armour…
11. The Curry Effect
As it turns out, Under Armour was right about Curry. Since signing the deal, the brand’s stock shot up from $47 a share to a whopping $120, which means its market value had doubled from $14 billion to $28 billion in just a few years.
Seeing the value of Curry, Under Armour figured $4 million wasn’t going to cut it anymore. So they offered Curry a deal he couldn’t refuse.
12. All In With Curry
Under Armour put all their efforts into re-signing a deal with Curry that would keep the Golden State Warrior up until 2014. According to the deal, Curry became a part-owner of the company, something Nike or Adidas have never offered to any of their athletes.
13. Curry, Now The Big Man On Campus
After all the drama, Curry’s signature shoe is now the 2nd best selling shoe - second only to Jordan’s. Nike must be regretting their choice. The $14 billion man could have been theirs if they had taken him seriously.
There are still other reasons Curry refused Nike…
14. Thank You, Riley
When Curry was deciding which brand he would sign, he let his daughter Riley decide. He gave his little girl a Nike, an Adidas, and an Under Armour to choose from, she picked up the Under Armour shoes and gave it to her dad.
Another reason Curry chose Under Armour had to do with his beliefs…
15. I Can Do All Things…
Steph Curry is a religious man. He wanted to incorporate his favorite bible verse, Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” into the shoe’s design. Nike refused to do so, but Under Armour realized Curry’s wishes. You can find the script “I can do all things” on the inside of the tongue.
16. Don’t Mess With Curry’s Beliefs
Curry is very serious about his beliefs. He first met his gorgeous wife Ayesha Curry at a church. They were both in the youth group and eventually tied the knot there as well!
If you watch Curry’s games, you may have noticed that after he makes every shot, he always taps his chest and points up to the sky. Curry said that means, “have a heart for God.” It reminds him of where his strength comes from.
Another thing you didn’t about Curry: With every three pointer he makes, he saves lives…
17. “Nothing But Nets”
Several years ago, Steph Curry joined a campaign under the United Nations called Nothing But Nets. It donates mosquito nets treated with insecticide to help fight the malaria epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa. Good for you, Curry!
18. A Promise
Curry promised that with every three-point shot he makes, he would personally donate three of the special nets to the foundation. In the 2017 season, Curry made 402 three-pointers. That means he had saved the lives of 1,206 families! The Golden State Warriors also jumped in the cause to team up with its star player and promised to match whatever donation Curry contributes.