The Story of How Under Armour Won Steph Curry

Clickbait title notwithstanding, this story from Ethan Sherwood Strauss is pretty incredible. It took me awhile to get around to reading it (the dynamics between a millionaire athlete and billion-dollar companies didn’t much appeal to me), but it surprised me with its substance and drama.

While the article avoided all the predictable David vs. Goliath cliches, that’s really what this story was about, in many ways. Under Armour is the David shoe company, trying to make a name for itself in a market dominated by a world-renowned brand. Curry is the David(son) athlete, physically outside the norm for NBA super stars, constantly proving that he’s better than the best. Even Kent Bazemore, the little-known catalyst of the Curry-Under Armour alliance, is featured going up against the “King” of the league, LeBron James.

In this way, Under Armour couldn’t have hoped for a better spokesperson than Steph Curry. If Under Armour’s message is, “We can compete in a world you thought unfit for us,” then Curry is living that message.

Nike’s complete lack of foresight and preparedness throughout the (or)deal also struck me. Like everyone else, they underestimated Curry—a forgivable sin, but an obvious sin nonetheless. But they also went beyond underestimating Curry and simply disrespected him. Showing up to a business pitch with a PowerPoint containing remnants of the last presentation is inexcusable in any line of work.

Whatever your project or end goal, you have to take your work seriously. Unforeseen consequences can be devastating, as this story proves.

Head on over to my What I’m Reading page to read this and other articles I enjoyed.

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