If you have been on Facebook in the past week, you may have saw stories that have somewhat, gone viral. According to “News” outlets, NBA star Stephen Curry left Nike for Under Armour because Nike would not allow the quote “I can do all things” on his shoes.
Before we jump into things, for those that don’t know, this is incorrect.
Curry at one point of his career was signed with Nike. His contract with the Swoosh was set to expire and according to reports, was offered less than $2.5 million a year from Nike. Under Armour, mainly known throughout the Football world offered Curry less than $4 Million a year (actual amount is unknown). Curry gave Nike a second chance to match Under Amour’s offer, who declined.
At this time, Curry wasn’t the player he is today and Nike was unsure he would be able to sell shoes. Under Armour took a chance and won. The brand even extended his contract till 2024.
Now back to the original topic. News sites are claiming Curry left Nike for ‘Religious Beliefs’, claiming Nike wouldn’t allow him to have “I can do all things” on his shoes. This, as proven above is false and came down to the money.
The quote Curry uses is from Philippians 4:13 which says “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
When Curry’s first signature shoe with Under Armour released, they did not have the quote, in-fact he would physically write it on his game worn shoes. It wasn’t until the Curry 2 that UA decided to manufacture the shoes with it.
Update: ESPN recently did a segment on why Stephen Curry had left Nike. Some of the details have yet to be heard until recently. Here is an excerpt from it:
Famed Nike power broker and LeBron James adviser Lynn Merritt was not present, a possible indication of the priority — or lack thereof — that Nike was placing on the meeting. Instead, Nico Harrison, a sports marketing director at the time, ran the meeting (Harrison, who has since been named Nike’s vice president of North America basketball operations, did not respond to multiple interview requests).
The pitch meeting, according to Steph’s father Dell, who was present, kicked off with one Nike official accidentally addressing Stephen as “Steph-on,” the moniker, of course, of Steve Urkel’s alter ego in Family Matters. “I heard some people pronounce his name wrong before,” says Dell Curry. “I wasn’t surprised. I was surprised that I didn’t get a correction.”
It got worse from there. A PowerPoint slide featured Kevin Durant’s name, presumably left on by accident, presumably residue from repurposed materials. “I stopped paying attention after that,” Dell says. Though Dell resolved to “keep a poker face,” throughout the entirety of the pitch, the decision to leave Nike was in the works.
In the meeting, according to Dell, there was never a strong indication that Steph would become a signature athlete with Nike. “They have certain tiers of athletes,” Dell says. “They have Kobe, LeBron and Durant, who were their three main guys. If he signed back with them, we’re on that second tier.”
Dell’s message for his son was succinct: “Don’t be afraid to try something new.” Steph Curry had thrived on proving people wrong for the entirety of his career. He had delighted in it, even. And Nike was giving him fuel.
If you would like to read further, visit ESPN.