Stephen Curry's rise to become the biggest name in the NBA may cost Nike around US$14 billion (NZ$20b) after they failed to re-sign the Golden State Warriors star due to a careless insult.
Curry was a former Nike client but it has been revealed that a poor pitch by the world's largest athletic apparel company to re-sign him led the NBA MVP to switch to Under Armour, where he has become the face of the company.
ESPN has reported that in 2013, when Curry was just on the verge of becoming an NBA superstar, he sat down with Nike to discuss a new contract.
From the start, this meeting didn't go very well (via ESPN):
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.
Curry soon signed with Under Armour before leading the Warriors to last year's NBA title and claiming his first MVP award. He's an odds on favourite to win a second MVP this season, while the Warriors have gone on a record 64-7 run as they eye the record 72 wins in a season set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.
He was recently estimated as having a potential worth of $14 billion to Under Armour, should his rise continues.
Then again, Curry tells another story - that his baby daughter Riley made the decision for him.
Via ESPN: At this point, Riley is little over 1 year old. She is presented with a Nike sneaker, an Adidas sneaker and an Under Armour sneaker. She picks up "shoe one," a Nike. "Threw it over her shoulder," Curry says. "She picked up shoe two, threw it over her shoulder. She picked up the third shoe, walked over and handed it to me." It was the Under Armour Anatomix Spawn. "So I knew right then," Curry says, smiling.
Under Armour have Curry on their books until 2024 as well as some of the biggest names in the other major codes in the US in NFL great Tom Brady, current NFL MVP Cam Newton, baseball's MVP Bryce Harper and golf world number one Jordan Spieth. The most decorated Olympian Michael Phelps also has a deal with Under Armour along with British tennis star Andy Murray.