How did Nike lose Steph Curry? It began with mispronouncing his name
MANILA, Philippines - How does a sports apparel giant lose the hottest rising basketball star in the world? Start by saying his name incorrectly.
That’s where Nike went wrong when it sought to re-sign Stephen Curry to an endorsement deal after the 2013 season. The reasons that led Under Armour to pull off the marketing coup of a lifetime had long been murky at best, but Curry’s father Dell helped shed some light on the circumstances that cost Nike the best baller on the planet.
Speaking with ESPN.com, the elder Curry tells of a pitch meeting in which a Nike official called the Golden State Warriors star “Steph-on.”
“I heard some people pronounce his name wrong before. I wasn't surprised. I was surprised that I didn't get a correction," said Dell Curry.
If that wasn’t indication enough that Stephen Curry was low on their list of priorities, the PowerPoint the Nike execs had shown contained a slide with Kevin Durant’s name, suggesting that it had been recycled from an old presentation.
”I stopped paying attention after that," said Dell Curry.
Curry’s father, who himself played in the NBA from 1986 to 2002, got the feeling that his son wasn’t exactly going to be treated as the new face of Nike.
"They have certain tiers of athletes. They have Kobe, LeBron and Durant, who were their three main guys. If he signed back with them, we're on that second tier,” said Dell Curry.
Nike reportedly had matching rights to other offers but failed to match the two-year offer by Under Armour, which was less than $4 million. In September of 2015, Curry signed an extension through 2024. According to ESPN, the terms were undisclosed but included ownership in the company.
So far, the loss is clearly Nike’s.
With Curry as its figurehead, Under Armour has surpassed Adidas as the number two sportswear brand in the United States while Forbes reports that UA “grew a significant 57% year over year in 2015.”
Business Insider reported that Curry’s potential worth to Under Armour is more than $14 billion, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Jay Sole.
Curry's appeal was further demonstrated before his visit to the Philippines in September 2015, when fans lined up for hours to purchase the required 5,000 pesos of Under Armour merchandise, which would earn them two tickets to see Curry in an exhibition at Mall of Asia Arena.
(IN VINES: Steph Curry puts on a show in Manila)
Curry, 28, has shown no signs of slowing down. The reigning Most Valuable Player of the National Basketball Association is hoping to lead the Golden State Warriors to a second straight title while breaking his own record for most 3-pointers made this season.
Moral of the story? If you’re unsure of how to pronounce his first name, just call him Steph. – Rappler.com