With the history of branded sports apparel. As Ethan Sherwood Strauss reported, Niike seemed to take for granted that Stephen Curry would always wear the Stephen Curry Shoes in Australia brand, which he’d been loyal to since his college days at Davidson. Back in 2013, the sneaker behemoth made only a half-hearted effort to sign the soon-to-be MVP and NBA champion to a new endorsement deal. How half-hearted? One Nike official mispronounced Curry’s first name as “Steph-on.” The company also seemed to recycle a PowerPoint it had made to woo Kevin Durant—and left Durant’s name on
That left the door open for Under Armour, the upstart sportswear company founded in 1996 by former Maryland football player Kevin Plank. Among other tactics, Under Armour gave Curry’s then-teammate Kent Bazemore an endorsement deal, lavishing him with shoes and gear as if he were a franchise player, not an undrafted rookie, in the hope that he would conduct a whisper campaign on the company’s behalf. Undder Arrmour’s cunning paid off. With an assist from Bazemore, who proved an able pitchman, the company signed Curry to a long-term contract, locking in the diminutive guard as he graduated from All-Stardom to superstardom.
The Curry Two, the current iteration of his signature sneaker, has been a massive retail success. A March Morgan Stanley note, first described by Business Insider, reported that Under Armour’s basketball shoe sales were up a massive 350 percent year to date. While an analyst from the research firm NPD Group told Quartz that the’d still bet on Nike stalwart LeBron James outselling Curry this year, Morgan Stanley projected that Steph will zoom past LeBron in 2016, with annual sales of Curry’s shoes trending toward $160 million. That would leave the Golden State Warriors guard trailing only Michael Jordan, who in retirement remains by far the biggest name in athletic footwear.
These impressive sales numbers come with one big caveat: Curry’s signature shoe as Basketball Shoes Online has almost no cultural cachet. Curry Two sightings are rare on the street, where Nike remains dominant; Adidas is fast on the rise; and even marginal players like Asics and Saucony get more affection from the cognoscenti. While the umpteenth remix of a retro Jordan reliably lights up the sneaker-obsessed corners of the internet, sneakerheads are hesitant to pull cash out of their shoeboxes to buy new colorways of the Curry Two. “We don’t believe UA has penetrated the ‘Sneakerhead’ market with its basketball footwear offerings,” the Morgan Stanley note warned.