Golden State Warriors star point guard, and 2x league MVP, Steph Curry just entered Michael Jordan territory with his new brand deal at Under Armour per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Golden State’s “Baby Faced Assassin” has signed a new brand deal with Under Armour where he will have his own division called Curry Brand. The newest shoes from the partnership, the Curry 8’s, will release this December 11th.
Speaking about the news and what traction it may bring, Under Armour Chief Executive Patrik Frisk told CNBC why the best time to launch their newest endeavor is now.
“We wanted to make sure we did this as close as possible to the NBA season finally launching … and the fact that we’re launching in between Black Friday and the holidays we think is very opportune.”
“This also gives Stephen something to really engage in … he’ll be actively involved in the development of the product. And we’re so excited to see one of our athletes being so involved in the product,” he said.
How Curry Brand Will Help ‘Lower-Income Households’ & HBCUs
Brand deals like this is usually about both sides maximizing their profits with another after seeing an opportunity for growth and position within a market. While the same can certainly be said about this one, both sides believe they’ll be able to impact not just their bottom lines but also communities who need support the most.
A piece of the Curry Brand mission statement discusses how it will invest in those communities, especially those with lower-income households. One of the ways it plans on doing so it beginning in Oakland, California, the brand will work with the Oakland Unified School District to launch basketball at every school district middle school.
According to Torrey Hart of Front Office Sports, Curry Brand within the next five years will create more safe places to play, support programs that younger athletes are within the most, and train coaches to help better serve the players they’ll have.
Speaking further, Curry himself elaborated on impacting younger audiences and how he plans on giving back more than this predecessors.
“A big piece of the Curry Brand is going to be investing into youth sports and creating a network and support around kids’ participation in sports. We are starting with over a $1 million investment to people, programs, products and places—so that is our four P’s. Safe places to play, court refurbishments and investing in programs that will get kids active in a safe way in fields to play, courts and around the right people and influencers. And when it comes to products, you obviously want to be able to support their journey and performance and elevate their skill sets across the board, and all that will be a part of what you are buying into within the Curry Brand. So it’s all about living out our purpose and impacting as many kids as possible.”
That’s not all. Curry Brand also wants to invest in HBCUs, short for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Last year, Curry announced that he was donating to Howard University’s golf program to aid them in funding for their upcoming season. With the success of this brand, he plans on taking investments like that to the next level and fund other schools in the future.
“We established the golf program at Howard for both the men’s and women’s side so opportunities like when we are growing the game or we are supporting participation and creating a North Star with other sports outside of basketball. The is one of the things I am most excited about as we get started on this journey. It’s kind of an open-ended road map. You want to be able to meet the needs and impact as many kids as possible. We are planning to do that, and it’s part of the ecosystem we are trying to create.”
What This Deal Means to Curry
As previously stated, this is rare air for an athlete to enter the stratosphere Curry now will. Few basketball players are in the select group of having their own brand on a global level like this. Jordan comes to mind first followed by Dwyane Wade. To this day, Curry can’t even believe it himself that it is actually happening.
“It’s kind of wild, bro, to be honest. It’s very surreal. I know a lot of people like to link it with Jordan Brand in terms of having a legacy brand attached to the company, and he is the GOAT standard of success when it comes to doing that, but we are going to do it a different way and something that is authentic to me. And again we are trying to plant our flag and just live out the purpose we are setting out to do with everything that we do and that for when it comes to product, when it comes to marketing, when it comes to our community give-back and our initiatives, all those things will be true to who I am and true to anybody that wants to participate and change the game for good.”
Yet, where Curry will also defer from his peers is that his brand will branch out into other sports, and sportswear, a lot sooner than what they did. Having a megastar such as Curry is a huge first step for Under Armour in being able to reach other audiences previously unavailable and to eventually bring other athletes into their company.
“Obviously, basketball is the no-brainer and my expression of what I do best, but when it comes to golf and when it comes running and training and when it comes other sports, that is part of my experience growing up. I always played other sports, got exposed to a lot of different skill sets and people, and that was big in my development. I feel like whatever a kid is interested in, we want to be able to present an opportunity to kind of live that out. We are going to start with basketball, and we want to make sure we have the product, programming and the arenas they would be able to go to and participate and hopefully scale out and brand out from there.”
That is the long-term vision to be able to pass the torch off to people that are likeminded and put their name behind something good and do good in the community and be a part of overall impact and thinking outside of themselves. That is the long-term goal. We have some plans on that but nothing to talk about yet [laughs].