Details On How Nike Blew Their Chance With Steph Curry

Sportswear brand Under Armour has positioned itself to be the go-to brand of the future. Last season the brand was home to four reigning MVP’s across sports, including Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry.

Recently a story from ESPN detailed how Steph made the choice to leave industry giant, Nike for UA. Coincidently it involves one of my former co-workers from my four-year stint at Nike in brand marketing.

A few years ago, Steph was battling back from ankle injuries and many had questions on what was next in his career. Nobody could have envisioned the level Steph would take it too. however it seems as if maybe Curry wasn’t taken seriously in the pitch to get him to re-up with the swoosh.

The pitch meeting was run by then-sports marketing director Nico Harrison -currently Nike’s VP of North American basketball operations and Kobe’s guy during the Lakers star time with Nike. According to Steph’s father Dell, who was at the pitch meeting, Nico kicked it off my mispronouncing Stephen’s name as “Steph-on.”

I’m sure that’s not the first time that’s happened, but you sort of want the company that you’ve been with since 2011 and are looking towards a future with to know how to at least say your name.

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.

What I can tell you from experience, there were likely areas of the pitch that were in fact reused from others. That’s pretty standard as there are certain key elements that will be uniform across your sponsors. Especially with a corporation the size of Nike. However, letting that slip through, I wonder if the team that put the presentation together is still with the company.