Nike Lost $14 Billion Down The Drain From A Costly Mistake They Made With Steph Curry

basketball | 10/22/18

Outside of just reaching the professional level, any athlete’s dream is to be sponsored by one of the juggernaut athletic brands. We’re talking about Adidas and Nike, naturally, but Nike is the leading sports brands in America. They have contracts with LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Tiger Woods, and Cristiano Ronaldo. Some of these players even signed lifetime deals with Nike locking them in with the swoosh even after retiring. One of the top NBA players, Stephen Curry, did not wish to be with Nike. The reason why will blow you away…

Once Drafted, Did Nike Sign Curry?

For Nike, it shouldn’t have been a hard decision to sign Steph Curry for a shoe deal. He already had many ties with the brand, including his godfather Greg Brink, who worked for Nike. Curry also wore Nike’s during his entire college career.

Upon being drafted 7th overall, it made all the sense in the world to lock up Curry with a deal. In fact, no one doubted that Curry would be wearing swooshes on his shoe to start his NBA career…

Nike Snags Curry

Nike isn’t the leading sports apparel in America for no reason, they know talent when they see it. The brand ended up signing Stephen Curry to a four-year deal that would last until 2013. Coincidently, 2013 was the year Curry set the NBA on fire.

Curry scored a career-high 54 points at Madison Square Garden in 2013. He also set the single-season record for 3-pointers that year. You could say it was his breakout year and he did it all while wearing Nike’s.

It only makes sense for Nike to re-sign him, right?…

Hearing Pitches From Other Brands

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Once his contract with Nike was up, Curry was free to hear pitches from other brands. But Nike still had the rights to match any offer that became available to Curry.

They set up a meeting with Curry and his father, former NBA player Dell Curry, at the Oakland Marriott. That’s the same building that the Warriors practice in. Curry admitted it was a bit awkward to hear a pitch from someone he was already signed to.

Was Nike’s presentation to the Curry’s a good one?…

Nike And Their Tiers Of Athletes

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Nike’s structuring is unique. They have what you call a tier of athletes, with the top tiered players receiving special treatment. These athletes included Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James.

Right from the start of the presentation, even Dell Curry understood that his son wasn’t in the top tier of players for Nike. In fact, he wasn’t even close. That was already an interesting sign for Curry even though he had been with the brand for years.

What happened next was appalling…

How Could Nike Do This?

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Sadly, Nike’s presentation was poorly given. They made it seem like Curry was only an afterthought in their plans as they already had three major stars on board. Then they did something Curry and his father couldn’t forget.

Curry’s father said the first sign of disrespect was when Nike “accidentally” mispronounced Curry’s first name. Instead of calling him Steph-En, they referred to him as Steph-On. And then to make things worse, no one in the room corrected the man who did it!

That might have been bad, but that wasn’t what turned Curry away from Nike…

Undervaluing Steph

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As the meeting continued, it became crystal clear that Nike didn’t value Curry as much as their other athletes. Nike had given younger, unproven players like Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving youth development camps instead of Curry. That hurt for Curry.

Having the chance to help younger players develop meant a great deal to him because he could see his younger self in a lot of the players who attended those camps. He went to camps when he was younger and wanted the chance to give back to the kids and community.

Clearly, Curry wasn’t going to get what he wanted with Nike…

Not Enough Room At Nike?

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Perhaps Nike just didn’t have any more room for Curry. Kyrie Irving was an up and coming player who played the same position and he carried a different type of swag that Nike might have liked more. It could have just been an “out with the old, in with the new” situation.

Whatever the reasoning may have been, nothing excused Nike from the other blunder they made at the pitch. It was possibly the biggest mistake in sports marketing history.

The amount of disrespect on this next one was high…

Nike Dropped The Ball…

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When you’re giving a presentation, its a good idea to double check the information you’re going to be showing. Nike obviously didn’t do that with Curry. On one of the Powerpoint slides, Kevin Durant’s name was still on it because it was the same slide they presented to him and they forgot to change it.

At that point, Curry and his father just stopped listening all together. And still, after all of this disrespect, Nike had the audacity to offer Curry a $2.5 million contract. Curry decided he was worth way more than that.

As it turns out, Curry was worth $14 billion more…

Time To Move On?

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Once the Nike presentation was over, it was clear as day that Nike had no plans to convert Steph Curry into one of their top-tier athletes. That’s when Curry’s father suggested for Curry not to be afraid to step outside the box.

You have to remember, Curry is no stranger to being overlooked. He wasn’t recruited and analysts didn’t put much respect on his name when he came out of college, but he loves to prove people wrong.

As a result, Curry decided to bet on himself…

Under Armour To The Rescue

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And like that, Under Armour showed up at the perfect time to make a pitch at Curry that would boost him to one of the most well-known athletes in the world. They put $4 million on the table, but Nike still had the rights to match.

Rewind a little and remember that Under Armour was taking a huge risk with Curry. Until then, Curry had failed to reach the playoffs for three years in a row and he only played 26 games the year before because of injury. Many thought he was too injury-prone.

This was a huge gamble for Under Armour…

Goodbye Nike

In a smart move, Curry confidently turned down the $2.5 million Nike deal. Nike also decided to not match the $4 million offer from Under Armour. It seems as if the Curry’s were right in thinking Nike didn’t value the worldly shooter.

This ended up becoming one of the biggest marketing mistakes ever made in sports history. Curry ended up becoming an NBA champion and one of, if not the most liked player in the NBA.

You won’t believe how much Curry increased the worth of Under Armour…

The Curry Effect

Upon signing the deal with Under Armour, you won’t believe how much their stock went up. Under Armour shot up from $47 a share to a whopping $120! The legendary shooter single-handedly doubled the brand’s worth from $14 billion to $28 billion in a few years.

Under Armour understood the value of Curry, unlike Nike, and figured $4 million wasn’t going to cut it anymore. In order to keep Curry, they had to offer him a deal he couldn’t refuse.

What do you think this deal was?…

A New Beginning

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Once Curry signed with Under Armour, the flood gates opened. Under Armour became the second biggest athletic sportswear in the industry. Bigger athletes began signing with the brand, such as Jordan Spieth and Bryce Harper from MLB.

To make things even better, Under Armour signed a ten-year deal that will begin in 2020 to be the sole supplier of the on-field uniforms for the MLB. Under Armour knew how much Curry was worth at this point and they prepared a mighty deal for him…

All In With Curry

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It took only two years for Under Armour to decide to put all their efforts into re-signing the Golden State Warrior. Their efforts were good enough to land a deal that would keep Curry with them up until 2024!

That’s not the best part, Curry received a lot of incentives too. He became a part owner of the company, something Nike nor Adidas have offered any of their athletes. And thanks to the MLB deal recently signed, Curry’s deal could leap to over a billion dollars if all goes well.

Curry, Now The Big Man On Campus

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After all that he’s been through, Curry’s signature shoe is now the 2nd best selling shoe only behind Jordan’s. That means it’s more popular than Kobe’s, LeBron’s, and Durant’s! Even though LeBron James recently signed a lifetime contract with Nike.

You have to imagine that Nike is regretting their mistake of not taking Curry seriously in their pitch and not considering him a top tier player. The $14 billion man could have been theirs if they matched the $4 million Under Armour dished out.

There are still other reasons Curry didn’t sign with Nike…

Thank You, Riley

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Something many people might not be aware of is Riley Curry played a part in Curry’s decision to leave Nike for Under Armour. The story is Curry gave his daughter three different shoes to choose from, Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour.

She picked up one shoe and threw it over her shoulder. She then picked up another and did the same with that one. On the last shoe, she picked it up and brought it to her dad. It was a the Under Armour one, of course.

Another reason Curry left Nike had to do with his beliefs…

I Can Do All Things…

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Steph Curry is a religious man. One of the other reasons he left Nike was because they refused to incorporate his favorite bible verse into the shoe’s design. Bad move on their part.

Once he signed with Under Armour, they did not wait to include his favorite verse, Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The script, “I can do all things” is found on the inside of the tongue.

Don’t Mess With Curry’s Beliefs

Yes, Curry is religious. He even met his popular wife, Ayesha Curry at the church his family attended when they were teenagers. Both of them were in the same youth group and eventually got married there as well!

If you watch him play, he always taps his chest and points up to the sky after every shot he makes. He said that means, “have a heart for God.” It also keeps him grounded and reminds him where he gets his strength from.

Something else you might not know, with every three he makes, Curry saves lives…

“Nothing But Nets”

Several years ago, Steph Curry teamed up with a campaign under the United Nations called Nothing But Nets. Their aim is to stop the malaria epidemic that affects thousands of families in Africa. Good for you, Curry!

Did you know that every 60 seconds, a child is killed by malaria? Nothing But Nets gives mosquito nets treated with insecticide to help save the lives in Sub-Saharan Africa. Curry was thrilled to be able to help these families and also bring awareness to the issue.

Keeping His Word

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Curry made a vow that every three point shot he makes, he would personally donate three of the special nets to the foundation. In one year alone, he made 272 three-pointers. Then in another year, he broke his record and made 286 threes!

To push it even further, for the 2017 season, he ended up splashing in 402 three-pointers! Within a span of four years, he personally saved the lives of 3,663 families. The Golden State Warriors even jumped in the cause and agreed to match whatever donation Curry contributes.

Read on to see some of the strangest outfits that other celebs wore for their endorsement deals.

These Celebrities Wore The Weirdest Outfits For Their Endorsement Deals

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Not all celebrities have steady careers and usually a large sum of their income is made off of endorsements. While these days many stars have to be wise about what they choose to promote, other stars in the past haven’t been as cautious. From dressing up as a pony to wearing a “mankini,” some celebrities have gone to extreme measures to promote a product or even a project of their own.

Courtney Stodden Proves That You Are What You Eat

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Courtney Stodden, the reality TV star who famously married 51-year-old actor Doug Hutchison when she was just 16, showed her love for PETA by proving that you are what you eat.

In her case, it meant wearing a lettuce leaf bikini while passing out veggie dogs. In 2014, Stodden took to Capitol Hill to protest National Hot Dog Day and Month by handing out free veggie dogs and of course she had to do it while wearing nothing but a salad. Stodden apparently did the stunt at the request of PETA, but the self-professed vegetarian was probably happy to oblige.

Macy Gray Let Her Dress Speak For Itself

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Hot off the international success of her 1999 hit “I Try,” Macy Gray came to the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards prepared to plug her new album on the red carpet. Gray opted for a dress that explicitly says, “My New Album Drops Sept. 18 2001,” with the words “Buy It” emblazoned across her backside to boot.

Gray was only presenting an award at the show that year, so she decided that it’d be the perfect time to promote her upcoming album during what little time she had on screen. Unfortunately, her album only debuted at No. 11.

Amanda Holden Could Hardly Contain Herself

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Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden was a spokesperson for Kenco Coffee in 2009. The British instant coffee brand wanted Holden to help promote their green packaging drive by having Holden dress up in a slinky green dress. But that’s not all, she even was placed inside a life-size Kenco Coffee jar to further emphasize the point.

It seems celebrities will do a lot of things for the brands that they sponsor – after all, money is money. But it helps when they’re actually dedicated to the cause. Holden even visited neighborhoods to promote the concept of up-cycling.

Remember When Penélope Cruz Dressed Up As Mario?


Oscar winning actress Penélope Cruz is usually known for spicing things up with her gorgeous looks, which is why people were amazed to see her in a commercial dressed as a fat, Italian plumber.

In 2012, the Spanish actress appeared with her model sister in a commercial for the Nintendo 3DS. After losing a game to her sister, Cruz is forced to dress up as Mario and ask a grocer for some mushrooms. It’s pretty wild that Nintendo asked someone as beautiful to dress up in something so different, but then again, she can even make Mario look good.

Coming up, you won’t believe how this celebrity went for accuracy when promoting her own line of equestrian clothing.

Joy Villa Wants To Make America Great Again

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In the last few years, there have been plenty of shocking outfits on the Grammy red carpet. But none have us face palming and scratching our heads more than Joy Villa. You might be wondering, Who?

Apparently Villa is a singer and was at one point an actress. Since no one really knows who she is, maybe Villa is trying to let everyone know. In 2017, she showed up to the Grammys in a striking blue “Make America Great Again” dress. She defended the dress saying, “You can either stand for what you believe in or fall for what you don’t.”

Villa Also Made Her Stance On Reproductive Rights Quite Clear

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Villa’s moment came and went but she made sure she wasn’t one to be forgotten. You would think that she wouldn’t be able to top the MAGA dress, but the following year, she succeeded. At the 2018 Grammys, Villa traversed the red carpet wearing a white dress.

It could have ended there, but Villa went so far as to hand-paint a rainbow fetus on the dress and create a matching purse that says “Choose Life.” Later she told Fox News, “I’m a pro-life woman. This year I chose to make a statement on the red carpet like I always do. I’m all about life.”

Lizzy Gardiner Charged Down The Red Carpet


Costume designer Lizzy Gardiner showed up to the 1995 Academy Awards in a dress made entirely of American Express Gold cards. That year she was nominated for Best Costume Designer for her work on The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Apparently, the dress was originally made for that movie, but American Express wouldn’t authorize its use. Gardiner decided to wear the dress herself on the red carpet and only then did AmEx realize what a huge marketing opportunity it turned out to be. Gardiner ended up winning the Oscar that year and the dress was auctioned off for over $12,000, with the proceeds going to charity.

Katie Price Was Just Horsing Around

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If you’ve never heard of Katie Price then prepare to have that innocence robbed of you. Price is an English reality TV star and model. So suppose she’s like a Jersey Shore cast member, but in the U.K.

Anyway, the British know that Price is privy to going to the extremes, so her wacky outfits probably don’t surprise them at this point. One of her most memorable was a pink pony suit – complete with hind legs – that she wore to promote her equestrian range of clothing. Price has been interested in horseback riding since her childhood.

Wait until you see how one singer really went for the gold when he introduced his alter-ego to the world…

Madonna Made Sure You’d Want To Come See Her On Tour

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Madonna has done a lot to make herself an icon and one of her most memorable moments was when she wore the Jean Paul Gaultier cone bra in 1990. Madge debuted this racy look to promote her Blonde Ambition Tour at its first stop in Chiba, Japan.

In what Rolling Stone called an “elaborately choreographed, sexually provocative extravaganza, Madonna wore this jaw-dropping number that was inspired by the bullet bras of the 1950s. Of course, this was a moment fresh out of the ’80s – when underwear-as-outerwear was all the rage. Suffice to say, Madonna never fails to make a statement.

Sacha Baron Cohen Revealed A Lot In Cannes

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If there is anyone who really dedicates themselves to promoting a new project, it’s Sacha Baron Cohen. The comedic actor really came onto the scene in 2006 when he wore a neon green “mankini” on the beaches of Cannes to promote his film, Borat.

In 2017, a group of Czech tourists were fined for indecency when they all wore mankinis and when Cohen got word of the incident, he offered to pay their fines. Borat ended up becoming one of the most popular movies of its time and since then, Cohen has never broken character when promoting his new projects.

Gaga Says She’s Not A Piece Of Meat By Wearing Exactly That

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Ahh, Lady Gaga. She too has been known to wear a wild outfit or two since her career has picked up. One of her most unforgettable looks was the meat dress she wore to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.

Gaga previously caused a stir when she wore the meat suit on the cover of Vogue Hommes Japan. Gaga’s VMA’s look came complete with meat boots, a meat hat, and a meat purse, which she handed to Cher to accted her VMA for Video of the Year that year – the show’s highest honor. Gaga defended herself saying, “I am not a piece of meat.”

Cee-Lo Green Was Going For The Gold

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In 2017, the Internet was up in arms over Cee-Lo Green’s red carpet walk at the Grammy’s. The entertainer came dressed in a shiny gold tunic and accessorized with a gold mask. He was compared to a Ferrero Rocher and a Power Rangers villain. Some speculated that he was dressed in gold so he could win some gold – Grammy awards, that is.

But apparently, all of those assumptions were wrong. Green was debuting his alter ego, Gnarly Davidson. At the end of 2016, Green released a song under the moniker and went for the gold when promoting it the following year.

Another star dressed up as a chicken to prove that she wasn’t a nugget, but that seems counter-intuitive…

Well Madonna, You’re Not Wrong

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Being the icon that she is, Madonna has used her platform in recent years to make statements about fashion and politics. At the 2016 Met Gala Ball, where the theme that year was Maus x Machina, Madonna let it all hang out as a way to promote freedom of expression.

She later wrote on Instagram: “My dress at the Met Ball was a political statement as well as a fashion statement. The fact that people actually believe a woman is not allowed to express her sexuality and be adventurous past a certain age is proof that we still live in an age-ist and sexist society.”

Reba McEntire Professed Her Love For Kentucky Fried Chicken

In early 2018, KFC entered new territory when they decided to promote their food with a female Colonel Sanders. They must have thought, Who better to represent this Southern food favorite than country’s own Reba McEntire?

McEntire was dressed up to look just like the Colonel himself, albeit a much slimmer-in-the-face version. McEntire told The Associated Press that when she was asked to play the famous chicken connoisseur, “I said, ‘Holy smokes!’ …I’ve eaten KFC my whole life. It’s been a favorite. It’s American. It’s wholesome… It’s a spoof, and I’m an actress and that’s how I took it.”

Jodie Marsh Says She’s Not A Nugget By Dressing As A Chicken

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Jodie Marsh is an English television personality-turned-bodybuilder who also supports PETA. As a vegetarian, Marsh also showed her support for animal rights by dressing up in a provocative chicken outfit in 2005. The outfit was to support PETA’s “I Am Not a Nugget!” campaign in the U.K.

According to PETA, Jodie became vegetarian when she was nine years old. She said, “I don’t eat any animals. I could never eat a dog, and I don’t see how a chicken, a cow, a sheep, a pig or any animal is any different, because all animals have a mind and a personality.”

Danielle Lloyd Dressed Up For The Ride Of A Fan’s Life


Danielle Lloyd is a former Miss England and Miss Great Britain who later participated on Celebrity Big Brother. As a result of her popularity, she too was hired to endorse some pretty strange stuff. Of course, like many others on this list, she probably didn’t mind wearing this ridiculous outfit if it meant a nice paycheck.

Lloyd was hired by English food brand Rustlers to promote their products dressed as a “sexy” cab driver. She was even a part of a taxi fleet that was part of a competition in which the winners got a free ride home with her.

Katie Price Dressed Up As Her Own Device

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Katie Price has proven time and time again that she’s one celebrity who isn’t afraid to gear up for a promotion. The U.K. model dressed up as an iPod to promote her own range of custom iPods back in 2010.

Dressed in a tight silver suit, she even had iPod Nano earrings and headgear to boot. She told Daily Mail, “I have so much fun doing my job, as you can tell by my costume today… someone said, ‘Is it over the top?’ And I was like, ‘Have you seen the rest of me?’ …It’s my maddest outfit yet!”

What did she dress as next? You’re about to find out.

Katie Price Also Dressed As Rainbow Brite For This Hair Brand

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Another memorable Katie Price moment was when she dressed up in all the colors of the rainbow to promote the English hair dye brand ColourB4. As an ambassador for the brand, Price was obviously obligated to do so, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t do it with her own flair.

Price wore a rainbow wig, complete with a skimpy rainbow-colored outfit. To make it clear what she was promoting, she even wore a headband made of the hair dye boxes. English citizens were shocked to say the least, but at this point, should they really be surprised?

Bai Ling, We Didn’t Get The Message

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Chinese-American actress Bai Ling showed up to the 2015 International Fashion Film Awards wearing an outfit that has people confused to this day. Whatever statement she was making or whatever she was promoting went straight over our heads, but the image of her outfit is ingrained in us forever.

She wore strategically-placed signs that depicted some very mixed messages. While her chest bore images of Coco Chanel and Charlie Chaplin, her backside had a map of the world. Over her nether-regions was a sign that said: “Bai Ling’s Cookie: Film Proposes: Will You Marry me? Fashion Says: YES!!!”

Paris Hilton Had A Need For Speed

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Perhaps it’s not so much what she was wearing, so much as it was why she was wearing it. In 2011, the heiress dressed up in a pink-striped body suit and straddled a pink and blue motorcycle to promote SuperMartxe by Paris Hilton.

If you’re just as confused as we are, Paris Hilton pretty much owned a motorcycle racing team at one point and pulled out all the stops to promote it. It seems that all that dedication paid off, since her Spanish driver, Maverick Vinales, ended up winning the final race to place third overall in the 125cc World Championship.