Stephen Curry is aware of all of the jokes you’ve been making about his “Chef Curry” sneakers and he doesn’t care. While promoting the launch of his third signature sneaker, the Under Armour Curry 3, the Golden State Warrior acknowledged the futility of trying to design a sneaker that nobody on the internet will make fun of. “You want to make a shoe that’s 100 percent approved by everyone but I don’t know if that’s particularly possible,” Curry said. “But, I’m proud of every shoe that I put out and that’s all I’m worried about.”
Curry has only had a signature sneaker for the past two seasons and the Under Armour brand has only been making basketball sneakers since 2010. The Curry line got its first lifestyle sneaker collection this past spring, with more styles planned ahead. “I hear the [jokes] and see them. It doesn’t bother me at all. I know what we’re up against when it comes to starting our own collection and trying to make waves with customers from all different backgrounds, walks of life and preferences and what not…” Curry said. “We want to continue to get better with every line that we come out with, so yeah that’s basically how I rationalize the jokes.”
While the NBA was famously against Michael Jordan’s black and red sneakers in the 1980s, its policies birthing the myth of the “Banned” Air Jordan 1, that didn’t stop its execs from trying to grab pairs of the shoes. In an interview with The Score 1260 on Wednesday, sportswriter Roland Lazenby told a story about then-commissioner David Stern asking a Nike employee for a hookup on the shoes. According to Lazenby, the Nike employee in question was in New York to meet with Stern about the banning of the shoes when the commissioner put in the request. “As the Nike official was leaving Stern said, ‘Look, I’m sorry I had to ban the shoe but could you get Michael to sign a pair for my son?'” Lazenby recounted.
The deal, negotiated by agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports, pays the New York Knicks power forward between $3 million and $6 million annually. That starting range could escalate each year based on several performance incentives such as point-average thresholds, playoff appearances and All-NBA or All-Star team selections. His previous brand, Nike, held a “right to match” clause and waited until the very end to decline to match adidas’ offer.
The fact Porzingis was a sneaker free agent was a mostly unprecedented case. Typically, rookies drafted at the top of the first round sign a four-year sneaker deal, but Porzingis signed a four-year contract with Nike for $25,000 when he began his pro career in Spain at 17. “What made it unique was that [the deal] wasn’t over by the time he was drafted,” Chris Brantley, vice president of marketing at ASM Sports, told The Vertical before Porzingis entered into negotiations with other brands. “He still had one year to go, and we had him play out the year and bet on him. We bet that he would have a good season and put himself in position to get a nice contract when it expired.”