Nike helped drive Stephen Curry to Under Armour with terrible sales pitch
Stephen Curry has become one of the most marketable athletes in sports, but he’s not an endorser of Nike or even Adidas – he’s with Under Armour.
It turns out that Nike had Curry, and could have had him for much longer had they not sensationally botched their sales pitch pitch.
ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss detailed the brand courtship of Curry, including the story of the terrible meeting Curry and his father Dell had with a Nike representative in August 2013.
Nike didn’t send major power broker Lynn Merritt to the meeting, offering marketing director Nico Harrison instead. The meeting began with one official mispronouncing Curry’s first name as “Steph-on” and never correcting himself, and a Powerpoint presentation that accidentally left Kevin Durant’s name in it as the target.
“I stopped paying attention after that,” Dell Curry said.
Nike was also not willing to give Curry the chance to run a Nike-sponsored camp for young players, and were not prepared to market Curry as one of their A-list stars. It only enhanced the chip on Curry’s shoulders, and Dell likened it to the fact that in college, the only power conference program to recruit Curry was Virginia Tech, and they would only take him as a walk-on.
“Wasn’t highly recruited, wasn’t highly respected, wasn’t highly thought of,” Dell said. “It was kind of like that, you know?”
Thanks to the influence of then unheralded Under Armour endorser Kent Bazemore, Curry ended up with them. He’s not exactly making $500 million like LeBron James is with Nike, but Curry is the big name at Under Armor now, and more importantly, they actually tried hard to get him, unlike Nike.