Under Armour Rumors
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.”
Durant, who is one of Nike’s most well-known endorsers and a former NBA MVP himself, said in a late August podcast with Bill Simmons: “Nobody wants to play in Under Armours.” After hearing what Durant said secondhand, Curry said he went back to listen to the original Simmons podcast to make sure he understood the context. Then he and Durant talked it out. “I told him that he has a certain opinion based on his experience growing up in the Nike business,” Curry said of Durant. “What that means when it comes to the competition among shoe brands and universities and the whole grassroots system and whatnot – he’s entitled to that opinion obviously. … But when it comes to what I’m trying to do with Under Armour, and what the Curry brand means and what Under Armour basketball means, that statement does not ring true at all.”
Durant joined The Bill Simmons Podcast, and he offered his insight on brand influences in college basketball recruiting while taking a shot at Curry’s shoe brand in the process. He said at the 36-minute mark: “For me, I didn’t want to go to Maryland. I didn’t want to stay home. I wanted to see what was outside that area. I don’t think a lot of kids, to be honest, they don’t choose Maryland unless they play in an Under Armour system coming up. Shoe companies have a real, real big influence on where these kids go. So, nobody wants to play in Under Armours, I’m sorry. Like, the top kids because they all play Nike.”
Simmons then asked if Durant talked to Curry about that, and Durant responded: “Nah, but he’s cool. Like everybody knows that. They just don’t wanna say nothing. The kids that play that grew up in the Under Armour system, they go to Maryland.”
How does Kevin Durant feel about Under Armour? He was almost wooed away from Nike to sign with the Baltimore-based brand in 2014, but doesn’t have anything positive to say about it now. In a conversation with Bill Simmons on his The Ringer podcast, KD was blunt. “Nobody wants to play in Under Armours, I’m sorry,” he says. “The top kids don’t, ’cause they all play Nike.” Durant was explaining why he thinks the University of Maryland, which is sponsored by Under Armour, is unable to better recruit top high school athletes.