If you’ve ever wondered what happened between the relationship with Stephen Curry and Nike, we have the answer. The year was 2013 and Curry’s contract with Nike was running up. The company put together a pitch to keep the burgeoning superstar that instead insulted him to the point he abandoned ship.
Curry, with his father Dell by his side, sat down with Nike officials, who began the pitch meeting by mispronouncing his name. Things only got worse from there. A PowerPoint slideshow was presented to Stephen, except it still had Kevin Durant’s name on it. Dell said he knew Stephen wouldn’t re-sign with the brand at that point, but they stuck through the rest of the pitch anyway.
The mistake wound up costing Nike over $14 billion in revenue. In 2016, sales of Curry’s Under Armor branded shoes were up 350 percent compared to the previous year. Those sales easily outpaced all of Nike’s other signature shoes, possibly combined. Then again, Nike could have avoided the Curry disaster had they matched Under Armor’s deal.
Even though Curry’s contract with Nike was expiring, they could have kept him in their stable by matching their competitor’s price. What was that price, you ask? Darren Rovell of ESPN estimated the deal was worth less than $4 million a year. That doesn’t sound like a lot of money to for Nike to keep their superstar. At the time, though, Curry was a three-point sniper without an NBA MVP or Championship to his name. It can be argued, then, that Under Armour capitalized on his potential while Nike did not.