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.
Nike has officially terminated its contract Manny Pacquiao.
The sports apparel company announced Wednesday that it no longer has a relationship with Pacquiao in the wake of some controversial remarks the boxing star made recently about same-sex marriage.
In a recent interview in his native country of the Philippines, Pacquiao compared those engaging in same-sex marriage to animals. You can read his full quote here.
Pacquiao had an endorsement deal with Nike since 2006, which means the company stuck with him through another anti-gay rant several years ago. The latest remarks likely made their decision easy.
An unbelievable photo purportedly from the opening coin toss of the National Championship Game Monday went viral, but it turns out that photo was a fake and just an advertisement by Nike.
The photo shows a completely clear look at the coin along with players from both Ohio State and Oregon looking up as the coin flips through the air.
The photo went viral with help from ESPN’s Don Van Natta, who tweeted out a version of it that received thousands of retweets:
Unfortunately, as Deadspin pointed out, the photo was actually created by Nike. The original photo even has a Nike swoosh in the top right corner.
Jimbo Fisher and his son shared a great moment back in November after Florida State came away with a huge win over Miami. You would have to be cold-hearted to not crack a smile watching 9-year-old Ethan sprint into his dad’s arms. The folks at Nike were frowning.
The Wall Street Journal has uncovered an email exchange that took place between a Nike official and Florida State administrators hours after the Seminoles’ Nov. 2 victory. After congratulating FSU on their big win and thanking them for “everything you all do for us,” Nike assistant director of football sports marketing Mark Dupes had an interesting favor to ask.
“Hey got a text from the USA Director of Sports Marketing last night telling me of how good things look w FSU and our players and sideline staff, exposure for the Brand was exceptional. Then 5 min later I rec a new message…Said ABC cameras were on Jimbo and his Son ad end of the game…His son was Wearing Under Armour FSU sweatshirt! Ouch. Can we please ask Jimbo to eliminate that from the son’s wardrobe in the future! Let me know if I can help w anything. Thx guys. MD”
Yes, Nike was concerned about a 9-year-old wearing an Under Armour sweatshirt. The Wall Street Journal asked FSU’s senior associate athletics director Monk Bonasorte about the request, and he said FSU administrators interpreted it as a “joke.”
“What am I going to do, go to coach and say, ‘Hey can you take that shirt off him?'” Bonasorte said. “I’m not going to call Jimbo Fisher and tell him what his son can wear.”
Nike said in a statement that its relationship with FSU athletics does not extend to the coach’s family and Fisher declined to comment. For what it’s worth, Ethan was shown wearing Nike brand apparel during and after subsequent games — including when the Seminoles defeated Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game.
We know Nike is protective of its powerful brand, but that seems like a bit much.
Mike Trout is in his own category as a player on the field, and now he’s in elite company off of it.
Nike has created its first signature for a cleat for a player since they did with Ken Griffey Jr. The cleat is called the Nike Lunar Vapor Trout, and it’s part of an entire “Vapor Collection” of items/accessories.
The cleat, which is available as of June 20, was created with some of Trout’s insights and is lightweight and designed for speed.
Via Nike’s website:
The first signature cleat for star outfielder Mike Trout, the Nike Lunar Vapor Trout redefines the balance of speed and power in baseball and embodies the future direction of the game. Informed by Trout’s own insights, the Nike Lunar Vapor Trout is designed for the directional speed needed to steal more bases, get to more balls in the outfield, and get out of the batters box quickly. Equipped with a durable, lightweight Nike Lunarlon foam midsole for comfort, the cleat features a split Pebax speed plate for ultra-responsive movement across the field. The midsole also informs a lively aesthetic that captures the spirit of Trout’s game and Nike Vapor technology – sleek, modern, athletic, and extremely fast.
In addition to the cleat, the Vapor Collection includes sliding tights, batting gloves, a sleeve, a cap and socks.
Below is a video of Trout talking about the cleat:
You’re probably wondering how it’s possible that Trout is the first Nike player since Griffey to get his own cleat and asking about Derek Jeter. Yes, Jeter had his own cleat, too, but that was made by the Jordan Brand, not Nike specifically.
Forearm bash to Big League Stew
I don’t know about you, but “Back to the Future II” was my favorite movie in the series. Was anything better than when Marty McFly and Doc Brown go to the future and Marty goes to Cafe 80s? I think not. And was anything better than all the gizmos from the future? Not a chance.
Those hoverboards were as sick as can be. And nothing topped Marty’s shoes and outfit.
Nike already released the Back to the Future II Air Mag shoes (eccentric closer Brian Wilson was a huge fan), but those lacked the power laces that took the sneakers to the next level. Now it sounds like Nike will be introducing the power laces before long.
From an article published on Sole Collector Friday:
During an appearance at the Jordan Brand’s Flight Lab space in New Orleans earlier today, designer Tinker Hatfield was asked about the possibility of seeing power lacing next year, and his answer may surprise you.
“Are we gonna see power laces in 2015? To that, I say YES!” said Hatfield.
Heck yes. Game on. There aren’t a whole lot of “wants” I have in life, but this definitely goes to the top of the list. Let’s just hope they don’t cost four figures the way the shoes did.
LeBron James apparently isn’t a fan yet of the latest version of his own Nike shoes.
“I could wear them, but they don’t feel as great as I want them to feel,” James told ESPN.com on Thursday. “So we’re redefining them, and I feel like this next round is going to be perfect.”
James apparently is uncomfortable with the fit of the shoes, the LeBron 11, which are cut lower than previous designs. He has worn the sneakers in only two games so far, according to ESPN.com. Before Thursday night’s blowout loss to the Chicago Bulls, James addressed the shoe situation.
“I just want to be able to wear them,” James said, according to ESPN.com. “It has been a frustrating process. But obviously, I know that Nike wants to do what’s best. They’re not going to put me out there in harm’s way. So we’re redefining the shoe to fit what’s best for my foot.”
Despite James’ indifference, sales of the LeBron 11, which retail for more than $200, are up 18 percent compared to sales of his LeBron X at this time last year, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Nike has decided to pull their “Boston Massacre” T-shirts in the wake of last week’s Boston Marathon bombings.
The shirts are old and unrelated to the bombings, but the company realized they do not reflect well given the context of recent events.
“The shirts being referenced are older baseball shirts that were predominantly being sold through our factory store outlets,” Nike spokesman KeJuan Wilkins said Monday, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell. “In light of the tragedy in Boston, we took immediate action last week to remove this product from distribution.”
Per Rovell, the shirts are being removed from outlet stores and online outlets.
The shirts are navy blue and have blood splattered over white lettering that says Boston. The term “Boston Massacre” is a play on to the historical 1770 incident that is also used to describe the Yankees’ late-season sweeps of the Sox in 1978 and 2006 that contributed to the Sox missing the playoffs.
Nike may have decided to act after Eric Stangel, a producer/writer for “Late Show with David Letterman” tweeted a picture of the shirt which he came across at a Nike outlet.
“We’ve been taking them down. But somehow they keep ending up back on the rack,” a store employee told him.
Even though the shirts have nothing to do with the bombings, it’s good thinking by Nike to remove the shirts. The company also had a recent ad campaign backfire when Oscar Pistorius was charged with murder.
The gentleman in the photo that you see above is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He plays forward for the Charlotte Bobcats, and as many of you know he helped Kentucky win a national championship in 2012. He does not — nor did he ever — play for Middle Tennessee, Illinois or Ohio State. But that hasn’t stopped Nike from acting like he did.
As Nation of Blue pointed out, Nike posted a series of artsy posters on Twitter on Sunday to congratulate teams who made it into the tournament. For several of them, they took a photo of Kidd-Gilchrist and tweaked it so it appeared he was wearing the corresponding team’s uniform.
Nike has decided to suspend its contract with Oscar Pistorius as the sprinter is investigated for charges of attempted murder.
“Nike has suspended its contract with Oscar Pistorius. We believe Oscar Pistorius should be afforded due process and we will continue to monitor the situation closely,” the sports apparel giant said in a statement, via The Oregonian.
Pistorius also had his contract suspended by Oakley on Monday.
Nike is one of the most loyal companies to its star sports figures, so it takes something of this magnitude for them to waiver in support of an endorser. They initially stood by Joe Paterno while Penn State was exposed for the Jerry Sandusky scandal; they stood by Tiger Woods as his sex scandal unfolded; and they re-signed Michael Vick even after he served time in prison for dogfighting charges. But Nike dropped Lance Armstrong last October, and they have suspended their deal with Pistorius. It hasn’t exactly been a banner year for the swoosh in terms of endorsers.
My guess is they’re going to end up dropping him before too long; the reported evidence isn’t exactly looking good for Pistorius.