Under Armour Rumors
LaVar Ball told ESPN that none of the three big companies — Nike, Adidas and Under Armour — wanted to do a deal with him, at least under the terms he was asking for. “We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar said. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner.” In a marketing case study that will be cited for decades to come, Lonzo Ball eschewed a traditional sneaker endorsement deal — bypassing at least a guaranteed four-year, $10 million deal, according to industry sources. As legend goes, LaVar had a rather steep asking price in negotiations with brands.
To celebrate Curry’s second title in three seasons, Under Armour is releasing an elaborate “Champ Pack” featuring the shoes worn during each Warriors win. The white and gold version was worn during Games 1, 2 and 5, and the black and white edition was worn for the Warriors’ Game 3 win on the road. “What a difference a year makes,” Curry wrote in the letter included with the shoes. “This Curry 4 is symbolic of that moment when we reclaimed what was ours. It was refreshing to hold up that Finals trophy on Warriors ground.”
Wasserman NBA agents completed more than half a billion dollars in playing contracts and shoe deals for clients in recent months. That number includes about $250 million in shoe contracts, including Phoenix Suns rookie forward Josh Jackson’s deal with Under Armour, which was announced before he was taken No. 4 in the draft.
They were not the only Warriors here mixing preseason basketball with the business of basketball. All-Star guard Klay Thompson has his eight-year, $80 million shoe deal with Anta, a Chinese-based company that hosted his promotional event in Shenzhen. All-Star forward Draymond Green is sponsored by Nike as well, though he turned his attention to the cap company, New Era, for a Friday event in Shanghai. “When we come over here and we have guys go to practice and they leave and say, ‘I’ve got a Nike event over here, and I’ve got an Under Armour event over here,’ ” Curry told USA TODAY Sports. “You just respect what everybody is doing, and we all have the space to impact people.”
When Curry isn’t wrestling for space in China with Bryant, he is burying the notion that a burgeoning shoe war with Durant could impact the Warriors’ harmony. “This world is huge, and there’s enough space for all of us,” Curry said during the trip that concluded on Sunday. “We’re all different. We’re all unique. We all have different stories, and we try to bring that to life with the things we represent from a product standpoint, and a brand standpoint. “(The idea of) whether it’s a competition, or this kind of inner locker room rivalry, or a battle of whose shoes are the most popular and all that kind of stuff, it’s not.”
Kevin Durant not-so-subtly took a jab at Under Armour and, by extension, his teammate Stephen Curry by saying earlier this summer that no one wants to play in Under Armours. It wasn’t a direct shot aimed at his teammate from Durant, a marquee Nike athlete, but considering Curry is the brand’s biggest star, it was an interesting comment that could have reasonably caused a rift between the two Golden State stars. Durant, however, says he and Curry have had no beef over his comment.
“We was never in a bad place when I said that,” Durant said in an interview with ESPN. “So it’s like we didn’t have to patch anything up. … Me and Steph, we talked about that. He had a conversation with me about it, and I understood. We moved on. We the Warriors,” Durant said. “Everybody trying to figure out a way to break us up, so they gonna use that too.”