The Real Reason Why Stephen Curry Signed with Under Armour

This was one of the best reads I’ve had the pleasure of consuming in quite some time.

You’ve likely been hearing the ridiculous rumors floating around regarding Stephen Curry leaving Nike due to a difference in religious beliefs, but the real reason isn’t that simple. Well, it actually is that simple. It just doesn’t have a single thing to do with a Bible verse. It has everything to do with business, and selling sneakers/marketing. It’s a world I’ve gotten pretty familiar with since I started this strange venture of reviewing performance footwear products, and it’s a world I don’t particularly enjoy. Yes, the trips are cool and all, but the brands and PR people can be faker than a pair of knockoff Air Jordans. Not all of them are, of course, but the majority are.

If you’re interested in knowing just what went down during Curry’s expiring Nike contract back in 2013 then you’ll want to head over to ESPN (you can click here) and read Ethan Sherwood Strauss’ article. It’s long, but worth every word. Afterward you can come back here and leave your thoughts on the entire subject.

I know there are plenty of you that are devotees towards a particular brand, but you shouldn’t be. They care nothing for you, and never will — it’s almost cult-like how people treat their “relationships” with these products and brands. If you pickup anything from the article, anything at all, it should be that you need to do things that are best for you, and not for everyone else. Why wear something just because you think it’ll make you cool? Trust me, if you’re lame without the gear, then you’ll be just as lame with the gear.



  1. NW I appreciate your candor when speaking about the shoe industry. No one who visits this site should be deluded into think that companies have any other motivation but to make money. Like you mention there may be people inside the industry who have are more “pure” motivations but they are the few. Your honesty is why I visit this site daily

  2. It doesn’t matter what brand.. to get a professional athlete’s name wrong on a power point presentation to persuade them to sign with you is just inexcusable. Also, that bit about Riley choosing UA was super cute sounding haha

  3. This was a fun read. It shows that with Nike owning the game right now, they don’t care for the “2nd tier” athletes. Their mistake, the let go the most exciting player in their line up, who happens to be changing the game.

  4. Based on the ESPN article, looks like Nike was never serious to re-sign Curry,

    mistakes like the following:
    – Steph-on??? I guess they didn’t know the player their signing and they didn’t even corrected it
    – powerpoint mistake….Durant pic in the Presentation
    – when Under Armour offered Curry a $4 million contract…Nike let him go,

    It’s Very Nice that Under Armour got Curry, it balances out the Basketball Shoe industry,

    No more Monopoly of the Check and Jumpman,

    And people start looking at other brands which is very Nice 🙂

  5. This was an awesome article. Almost makes me want to have Bazemore back on the Warriors roster! LOL!!!!!

  6. I think there are 3 areas to seriously consider if Under Armour wants to continue success and be a formidable competitor to Nike. These are Quality and Performance, Innovation and Technology, and Aesthetics and Design.

  7. Very cool article and enlightening to some but obviously UA/Curry biased. Tthe article missed a HUGE reason as to why Nike didn’t resign curry at the time. His ankles. The article never mentioned curry’s ankle surgeries/concerns and Nike flying him up and constantly trying to tweak his current sneakers (at the time) and figure out what was the best sneaker for him and his ankle troubles. [The Warriors also signed him to a friendly deal because of said ankles].
    You have a guy with potentially career limiting ankles, which makes him (or any player) a huge risk to sign, much less banking on him being a signature athlete. Nike had a variety of bball signature athletes/and those next up for possible signature kicks on the roster. While they wouldn’t have to pay curry an exorbitant amount, (I totally get that) it was still a big gamble (see D Rose and the astronomical contract he signed prior to the injuries and how adidas was banking on one player to make waves in the bball market…things can go sour really fast).
    I think the article is obviously taking jabs at Nike as they’re this giant in the game; Happens when you’re on top or very well known/recognized. Just comes with the territory I guess.
    For me I just try to be fair more so than anything and the article is one sided in favor of UA/curry but still very much appreciated and a cool read.
    Another point in the Article was that pg’s aren’t valued even by Nike. The industry as a whole adidas and reebok weren’t really pushing pg’s either (up until 2 years ago Kyrie Lillard Curry), but have the article tell it Nike was the only company overlooking pg. Hindsight is 20/20. Definitely a deal Nike now regrets.

    1. well if you are saying that the reason why Nike didn’t send top agent, misspelled his name on purpose, used Kevin Durant’s face and recycled a previous powerpoint presentation and offered him $4 Million for the whole thing because Nike is so concerned about Steph’s Knees, I’m laughing so hard right now.

      the article may sound bias but it is a very valid one and enough reason that Steph left for UA. it was even an insult to even call that a meeting and only makes sense while a lot of players are leaving or preferring anything that isn’t a swoosh or a jumpman. the meeting sounds despicable and an embarrassing one at it.

      the obvious reason why Nike didn’t go for Steph is because Steph doesn’t look like the typical athletic player that they could market. the guy doesn’t dunk or Nike doesn’t believe that the 3 point would become instrumental in their marketing success. the knee injury excuse is a lame one at that as we have seen high profile players such as WestBrook and Durant get injured, yet Nike/JB are willing to sign them because their plays are marketable despite being injured.

      the thing is that Nike somehow repeated what Adidas made in the past where they didn’t believe that MJ/Basketball could transcend to worldwide popularity all because of FUTBOL !!!

      let’s face it, Nike/JB has become arrogant and they believe that people would just stick to one brand just because they are the top brand right now and an established one. even to the point of creating ugly and ill-advised designs, bad C/W, downgraded materials and re-hashes and still ask people to buy them for $150-$200 eventhough the labor fees and taxes in CHINA are so damn cheap.

      I was a Nike/JB before, but seeing what they have been doing lately should be an eye-opener for sneaker enthusiasts. they are more concerned now on maximizing profits rather than maintain the quality that made them an iconic brand.

      I’m just glad that other brands are coming out and rivaling Nike/JB.

    2. Yeah, I agree, the ankles is the key reason.
      In my view, whatever they did accomend his ankles, didn’t work out.
      Curry did said to team management the “contract is fair,
      and to take on chance on me”
      It sure has worked out with him with the endorsement and the team.

  8. When you visit sites like NikeTalk and then Sole Collector, with the latter on FaceBook and their regular site, you’ll read silly little pro Nike comments ridiculing other brands on their “design”, usually by some Pugsley Addams looking dudes who cannot even walk and chew gum at the same time, or perhaps simpleton processed suggestions stating “they”, never see anyone wearing any other brand where they may live. An article like this on both sites would be considered “trolling”, especially when the debate against Nike begins, which is understandable on a site dedicated to Nike as NikeTalk is. Sole Collector is supposedly independent of such loyalty. Their past sneaker reviews were a complete joke, disgustingly so. So I applaud you NightWing for posting this expose, proving that you are going in the direction that this sneaker review thing should actually go.

    My own opinion is that Nike sucks, and then has sucked the big one since Jordan retired the second time. LeBron’s line has had some hits, but a whole lotta misses as well. Kobe Bryant? Well Steve Nash should have been promoted before him for wearing lows. But as the article states about tiers and levels, I guess Nike feels that “White men can’t jump”, and they damned sure cannot sell a sig shoe, even though Nash is one of the coolest cats on the planet. Kobe was not a knockout success for Nike in the U.S of A, especially after pulling a Cos in Colorado, then throwing Shaq under the bus. I do not care about how he is liked in Asia. That actually speaks to the failure of Kobe Bryant and Nike. He was never seen as cool. His earliest releases were RTV’ed from stores, with many vendors refusing to buy Kobe’s line again because they did not sell well. This is why you only saw Kobe’s kicks on, then Footlocker and their affiliates.

    People like Steph Curry, and they should. He IS cool. I hope Under Armour doesn’t mess it up, because Nike is definitely nervous. Now if Adidas can get their shit together, and Reebok can find something other the The Question to put out there, things will get really funny for those of us who actually wear the shoes for which they are intended, I mean, other than jumping into puddles on Instagram.

  9. Cool article, I actually read it before you mentioned it here. It’s nice to know other brands are thriving and being noticed. I’m a big fan of Brandblack and I just bought a pair of Lillards. I have a friend who you can say is like “lifetime” Lebron and if it’s not Nike, he won’t even consider it. We need company’s like U.A. to show Nike that people can have their own opinion and not just buy things because a swoosh. Humble them. I hope U.A.,Adidas, and BrandBlack can send a message to Nike showing them people won’t tolerate they’re overpriced products anymore. I hope the KD9 starts a trend.

  10. What goes up must come down. The greatest empires eventually fall because they get too comfortable and take things for granted.

  11. Very good read. Sad to see that Nike did not even pay that much attention to Steph. . . They must be kicking themselves now. I like how it shows that the sneaker business really does matter to the players, and it’s almost like a war with the different brands. The Curry’s are good, and he is good. UA is on the rise, Adidas is getting there, so hey, you never know what can happen in the sports world.

  12. I enjoy reading ESPN’s TrueHoop. Would you recommend other sites or writers that have similar investigative articles?

    One of the main reasons weartesters is such a great site is because it highlights facts and clearly labels opinions on shoe tech and design making it feel very much like reporting. Readers gain knowledge instead of just entertainment.

  13. I honestly thought the article was more of clickbait as Curry has replaced LeBron in ESPN’s news feed. I think they were even talking about this damn hair today. Like what was already said, it just narrowed down to business. Curry was offered stake in UA and they clearly gave him a pitch because they needed a face in their basketball division.

    Now I wouldn’t want to take away from Curry and what UA made of their partnership, but at the time Nike just had other priorities. Nike also seems to commit to top prospects from the start — and that’s what separates the Jordan and Curry comparison in this situation.

    You see players with breakout seasons like Gilbert, T-Mac, Lin, and Rose get a fat contract from Adidas and then it doesn’t last either because the design team was lacking or the players went down. Kobe aside (who was well-established), I don’t recall Nike investing heavily into someone from “sneaker free agency” after a breakout season in recent memory. Butler got Jordan PE’s at most for now. I know there was that slight hint at Rose when he got the long-term from Adidas, but dude was locked. So plainly, it’s just no surprise to me that Nike gave Curry little effort. He still had questionable ankles at the time. Kinda weird, because in most cases lately it’s been hard to find myself defending Nike.

  14. It just shows that when someone BELIEVES in you something Special can happen,

    it helps a lot, even from a personal standpoint,

    Under Armour believed in Curry and seen the Potential that Nike ignored,

    with convincing from former Teammate Kent Bazemore and the Magical pick from Riley,

    An Icon was born, someone almost everyone can look up to,

    What Curry lack in athleticism he made up by hard work and his Will to succeed,

    It shows also that Ball Handling and Dribbling can get you almost anywhere in the court, and that you don’t need to be able to dunk to be able to make an impact,

    Curry also mentioned in one other article he worked on his Jumper so he can quickly release the ball, it’s not given, it’s all hard work,

    Hoping for more Splashes this Season by Stephen Curry!

    1. well, Curry is the complete opposite of Nike Lebron. Curry has become the epitome that hardwork pays dividends. while Lebron, I haven’t seen the guy improve at all eventhough there are still a lot of things he needs to improve. and the media says he can play 4-5 positions? I’m laughing already. Lebron is basically a freak oversized 2 or 3. something like a Scottie Pippen but I would still put Pippen way way above Lebron.

  15. I mean, sure Nike did a silly thing by not signing Curry. But that’s hindsight and hindsight is like the armchair philosopher. Look at it from Nike’s perspective and you have Kobe, LeBron and KD who were by far the biggest names in basketball back then AND you have Jordan Brand. Like the article says, no one could’ve known Curry’s explosion even if he set a record threes. Shooting a ton of threes doesn’t necessarily make you a superstar, it’s the way how and that’s what has changed.

    Plus this is very limited to the basketball world. Take it outside basketball and UA have barely anything to talk about. Yeah they have some football clubs here and there but they’re mostly 3rd tier or worst, yeah they have some football players but they’re nowhere near interesting. All of the top football players are signed to Nike or Adidas (exhibit A and B: Ronaldo and Messi). Tennis same story, Federer, Nadal and Serena Williams? All Nike. And so on with other sports.

    If anything this is an opportunity for UA to make a name for themselves and get an opportunity to branch out through the extra money they make. But let’s not fool ourselves by thinking this is about a decline in Nike’s brand (or Adidas outside basketball for that matter) because that’ll take a lot more.

  16. This is purely nothing but a good to read man…good to read!!! I love reebok and fila way back then. They should also make their move to beat this two colossal company (nike and adidas) to break their monotony.

  17. Allegiances are fine. Brand loyalty is fine. People gravitate to Nike because they’ve been making good performing and attractive basketball sneakers for decades. You can’t say the same about any other brands. Not one. They’ve all had very rough patches and/or are no longer relevant. UA is a newcomer, and frankly, their shoes are not very good looking (personal opinion).

    I’m not saying you should dismiss other brands on face, but there’s no fault in sticking with Nike because it’s worked for you your entire life.

    I’ve owned other brands. Hell, one of my favorite playing shoes of all time was an And1 sneaker from the late 90s (don’t remember the model)!!

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