Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry is no stranger to victory. The two-time MVP and sporting supernova has led the former underdog team to win three NBA playoffs since 2015—and has built his own personal brand in the process.
Eschewing licensing agreements with major commercial players like Nike and Adidas, Curry instead joined forces with Baltimore-based athletic wear label Under Armour in 2013. The partnership has since yielded a steady stream of sellout basketball shoe styles, T-shirts, accessories, and even golf gear as an homage to the baller’s favorite weekend pastime.
Now, it’s rumored that Curry may be making a play for a bigger piece of the Under Armour pie.
According to LetsGoWarriors.com, a destination for the team’s avid fans, Curry is slated to launch his own brand within the athletic wear giant’s empire. While he has released seven signature sneakers through Under Armour’s Steph Curry Collection, the 32-year-old is reportedly gearing up for the debut of his own label within the coming months.
A source reportedly told the fan site that Curry’s forthcoming Under Armour sneaker, dubbed the Curry8 Flow, will be the first style released under the point guard’s personal line. The sneaker is rumored to drop this month or next.
In early July, the Golden State Warriors’ social media team released a now-deleted video of players, including Curry, working out at their gym in San Francisco’s Chase Center sports arena. Curry was seen sporting a new silhouette—a black sneaker with white soles—that sneakerheads across social media have conjectured to be a prototype of the Curry8 Flow.
A Curry-led brand could have massive implications for Under Armour. Former Chicago Bulls star and NBA legend Michael Jordan’s Jordan Brand, which began as a line with Nike, has catapulted to household-name fame over the course of more than three decades. The Jordan collection first launched with Nike in 1984, as its namesake rose to prominence, and launched as a separate, Nike-owned brand in 1997, retaining its culture relevance with a steady drop of coveted sneakers and a recent $100 million donation to groups fighting systemic racism.
Nike Air Jordans in all of their iterations are synonymous with sneaker culture, as indispensable and iconic as any style on the market. In May, following the coronavirus-induced retail slowdown, the label and its footwear experienced a boost in sales of more than 40 percent, coinciding with the launch of ESPN’s 10-part “The Last Dance” documentary series. The television event spotlighted the Hall of Famer’s dominant season with the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, prompting a frenzy for Jordan Brand products, including sneakers, T-shirts and hoodies, that peaked the week of May 3.
Under Armour is likely hoping that Curry’s star power, and the cachet of a new label, can drive similarly fervent droves of shoppers to the brand during the second half of the year. Covid-19 has hit Under Armour where it hurts this year, with revenue falling 41 percent to $707.6 million in the second quarter, resulting in $182.9 million in net losses.
In an earnings call in July, chief financial officer David Bergman projected a continued decline in revenue—as much as 25 percent—during the next two quarters. That’s because the brand’s wholesale partners have been hobbled by store shutdowns, their business slashed by more than half since stores were ordered to close in March. About 80 percent of the retailers and owned stores where Under Armour products can be purchased were shuttered through the month of May, and traffic has since remained sluggish.
But could Curry lead the brand to victory, the same way he’s led the Warriors? The team has been down in the fourth quarter countless times, with just seconds on the clock, when Curry emerges to eke out a win with yet another seemingly impossible three-pointer.
NBA heavyweights seem to think the MVP’s on-court prowess will translate to his eponymous brand. “Welcome to the ‘own’ brand club,” former Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade replied on Bleacher Report’s Instagram post on Monday, in response to the rumored news. Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard opined succinctly, “Love it.”