The MVP is back, and he’s sporting a new pair of shoes.
Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry scored a whopping 62 points in Sunday’s NBA game against the Portland Trail Blazers, leading the team to a 137-122 victory and hitting a career high—all in his new Curry Flow 8s. The style, which dropped Dec. 11, is Curry Brand’s introductory sneaker, representing the first release from the Under Armour-produced line of footwear, apparel and athletic gear.
Curry followed up Sunday’s on-court explosion with a 30-point showing in a 137-106 victory over the Sacramento Kings Monday evening, prompting commentators to speculate whether the back-to-back outbursts marked the baller’s return to peak performance after the Warriors’ slow start to the 2020-2021 season. ESPN tweeted multiple videos of the former MVP’s barrage of Sunday shots, with captions like “SHEESH, STEPH,” accompanied by an umbrella emoji to signify Curry’s propensity to “make it rain” on his opponents. Brand partner Under Armour was equally mesmerized by the fancy footwork and shot-making, tweeting a photo of Curry in his signature sneakers and not-so-subtly encouraging would-be ballers to “Get yours now.”
Before Curry dazzled with his hallmark antics on the hardwood this week, fans marveled at a video that popped up on YouTube late last month capturing the long-range shooter sinking 105 consecutive shots from behind the arc, a feat he accomplished while sporting his new kicks. And now that Curry is once again hitting his stride, consumers’ heads are indeed swiveling to get a closer look at his footwear. Google Analytics data shows that searches for “Under Armour Steph Curry” spiked on Monday following the game, hitting peak levels for the week. Searchers in the Golden State Warriors’ home state of California unsurprisingly queried the term most frequently, followed by users in Texas, with whom the search term was 80 percent as popular, New York (52 percent), Virginia (48 percent) and Florida (46 percent).
“The shoe, priced at $160, is a strong start out of the gate for the NBA star’s young brand, which hopes to achieve heights similar to LeBron James and Michael Jordan,” said Edited retail analyst Krista Corrigan, who added that “an entirely new generation of basketball fans have followed Curry throughout his career, giving him an edge with the younger consumer.”
According to Corrigan, Curry Brand’s focus on apparel offerings, rather than just basketball shoes, could give the point guard’s line an edge with such shoppers. Sportswear and athleisure continue to dominate the market, especially as everyday consumers wait for their shot at one of the Covid vaccines and a return to normal life.
The analyst also cited Curry’s strong community engagement as a plus for the new brand. According to Under Armour, a percentage of Curry Brand’s profits will be donated to underserved communities, and by 2025, the label aims to “create at least 20 safe places to play, support 125 programs that impact young athletes, and deliver opportunities to train more than 15,000 coaches—making an overall impact on more than 100,000 youth.”
The social upheaval of 2020 challenged brands to examine their impact, with athletic wear titans in particular forced to question whether their internal values reflected those of their audiences. With shoppers looking to hold labels to higher account for their actions, they could be more likely to vote with their wallets for values-led brands that give back. Community engagement takes “top priority under the new Curry label,” Corrigan said, “paving the way for an iconic brand to emerge.”