Under Armour Rumors
“The match clause is very much a relationship thing, and Stephen Curry is the most famous example of this,” ESPN’s Nick DePaula said. “He signed an offer sheet with Under Armour and the Nike guy called Steph and they had heart-to-heart. The Nike guy said, ‘Hey, normally we would match this because we value you as a player, but do you really want to leave? Where is your head at?’ And Steph said that he really wanted to go to Under Armour to try to build his own thing. Nike basically said, ‘Alright, cool. We respect that, so we’ll let you go.’ They got a lot of heat for that (hindsight is 20/20), but if a player really wants out, they’ll sometimes let him go.”
Every company has a different approach. These days, players have a ton of options when they hit sneaker free agency. Nike, adidas and Jordan Brand are still on top, but many competitors are now in the space including Under Armour, PUMA, New Balance, AND1, Converse, Li-Ning, Anta, Peak and Q4 among others. Agents are welcoming these brands with open arms, as it only helps them do their job.
In the summer of 2018, two top Under Armour executives traveled to the West Coast on a critical mission. Kevin Plank, the sports apparel company’s founder and chief executive, and Patrik Frisk, its president and chief operating officer, needed to persuade Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors star and the company’s highest-profile endorser, not to leave the brand. The two sides had grown increasingly frustrated with the relationship, said two former Under Armour executives familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the previously undisclosed meeting. In 2017, Mr. Curry took public exception to a comment by Mr. Plank calling President Trump “a real asset” to the country, prompting the executive to take out a full-page newspaper ad to explain what he said about Mr. Trump “did not accurately reflect my intent.”
At the meeting, participants found a solution that would showcase just how much Mr. Curry meant to the company. Mr. Plank and Mr. Frisk agreed to build a separate business around him, one reminiscent of what Nike had done for Michael Jordan two decades before. The company brought on the former executive who had overseen the creation of the Jordan brand at Nike to run the Curry brand and promised Mr. Curry much more involvement in the development of his shoes. Mr. Curry decided to remain, and a crisis was averted.
Ahead of Stephen Curry’s 11th season in the NBA, Under Armour offers up an official look at his newest signature basketball model dubbed Curry 7. Pictured above, the “UNDRTD” colorway will lead the charge, which features a grey-based lowcut upper including Curry’s “SC30” logo printed on the sides. Underneath is a white midsole along with red detailing to complete the look.