Stephen Curry

NBA rumors: Steph Curry persuaded by Under Armour to stay with company

NBA rumors: Steph Curry persuaded by Under Armour to stay with company

About a year-and-a-half ago, Warriors superstar Steph Curry nearly ended his relationship with Under Armour.

Julie Creswell and Kevin Draper of The New York Times have the details:

In the summer of 2018, two top Under Armour executives traveled to the West Coast on a critical mission. Kevin Plank, the sports apparel company’s founder and chief executive, and Patrik Frisk, its president and chief operating officer, needed to persuade Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors star and the company’s highest-profile endorser, not to leave the brand.

Mr. Plank was unhappy that Mr. Curry, whose endorsement deal pays him millions of dollars a year, would rarely wear Under Armour clothing to N.B.A. games. Mr. Curry was upset that sales of the signature Curry 3 shoe had been weak.

At the meeting, participants found a solution that would showcase just how much Mr. Curry meant to the company. Mr. Plank and Mr. Frisk agreed to build a separate business around him, one reminiscent of what Nike had done for Michael Jordan two decades before. The company brought on the former executive who had overseen the creation of the Jordan brand at Nike to run the Curry brand and promised Mr. Curry much more involvement in the development of his shoes. Mr. Curry decided to remain, and a crisis was averted.

Of course, what happened in early February 2017 didn't help matters.

After Plank praised Donald Trump by saying, "To have such a pro-business President is something that is a real asset for the country -- people can really grab that opportunity," Curry told The Athletic's Marcus Thompson (who was at The Bay Area News Group at the time): "I agree with that description. If you remove the 'et' from 'asset.' "

Plank issued a clarifying statement the following day, and Curry let it be known: "I spent all day yesterday on the phone with countless people at Under Armour, countless people in Kevin Plank’s camp, my team, trying to understand what was going on and where everybody stood on the issue. Based off the release that KP sent out this morning, and what he told me last night, that’s the Under Armour that I know.

"That’s the brand I know he’s built and one that, as of Wednesday afternoon, is something that I’m standing on.”

The two-time NBA MVP let it be known that he would part ways with Under Armour if he felt like it was the right thing to do.

“If there is a situation where I can look at myself in the mirror and say they don’t have my best intentions, they don’t have the right attitude about taking care of people," he told Thompson. "If I can say the leadership is not in line with my core values, then there is no amount of money, there is no platform I wouldn’t jump off if it wasn’t in line with who I am.

"So that’s a decision I will make every single day when I wake up. If something is not in line with what I’m about, then, yeah, I definitely need to take a stance in that respect.”

[RELATED: Dubs try to reconcile before first game in Kobe's hometown]

It appears the two-time NBA MVP is on good terms with the company, as he helped recruit Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid to the brand in August 2018, and recently helped in the effort to sign Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (who ended up with Nike/Jordan).

Curry's contract with Under Armour runs through 2024 at about $20 million annually.

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Ayesha Curry posts heartfelt tribute after Kobe Bryant's tragic death

Ayesha Curry posts heartfelt tribute after Kobe Bryant's tragic death

Ayesha Curry is a daughter, a wife, a sister to three others and the mother of three children ages 7, 4 and 1.

With Sunday's death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, 41, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a tragic helicopter crash, Curry is asking for "infinite prayers" for Bryant's wife Vanessa and the whole Bryant family. Ayesha took to Instagram to share a heartfelt tribute. 

Her husband, Steph, who is a two-time NBA MVP for the Warriors, shared his love for Kobe and the Bryant family on Instagram as well. 

Steph Curry also changed his Twitter profile picture and cover image to photos of Kobe and him.

The Curry family joined those in the NBA and beyond as those who have shared their grief and sadness for all involved in Sunday's tragedy. 

Warriors' Steph Curry posts Kobe Bryant tributes in Twitter, Instagram

Warriors' Steph Curry posts Kobe Bryant tributes in Twitter, Instagram

Steph Curry and Kobe Bryant shared lots of moments on the basketball court during their seven years playing against each other.

So, you knew the news of Kobe's tragic death in a helicopter crash in the Calabasas hills would hit Curry hard.

Sunday night, Curry posted a pair of tributes to the late Bryant, one on Instagram and the other on Twitter.

Last July, Curry sat down with House of Highlights to break down some of his most memorable plays, and one that came up was a 3-pointer Steph hit over Kobe in a preseason game between the Lakers and Warriors in 2014.

"This is him, I think the year after his Achilles [tear] and he's trying to get his competitive fire back because he missed so much time. He started to pick me up full court two possessions in a row, so this is the second possession. So I took the challenge obviously. They let him foul and they didn't call that so I kinda had to work with that.

"But I came down the court and he was trying to steal it, trying to be physical. I got him with a little half step to get a little bit of space and then just pulled it from deep and obviously it went in and then his smile afterward, the little ass tap.

"I tried not to have a reaction there because I was in the moment. But afterward, I was like 'Damn, that's pretty cool' because Kobe doesn't show that type of emotion."

[RELATED: Myers reflects on life of Kobe]

Curry, like many of his contemporaries, looked up to Kobe. This is a brutal day for Curry and the NBA.