Stephen Curry.

Two big mistakes in 2013 meeting ruined Nike's chances of signing Stephen Curry

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Stephen Curry's rise to the top of the NBA over the past few seasons has made him one of the most sought after athletes when it comes to brands and endorsement deals.

The Golden State Warriors star's emergence at the top table of the sport has been a huge boost for Under Armour specifically - the sports brand benefiting from an endorsement deal struck in 2013 which, according to one report, could eventually be worth around $14 billion to the company.

Big mistakes

According to Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN, however, things could have been very different had a meeting between Nike and Curry not gone horribly wrong three years ago. Rather than retain one of the game's rising stars, the global corporation made two crucial mistakes that virtually ended negotiations there and then.

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At the time, Curry had been with Nike for a number of years but wasn't the household name he is now. A fact that may well have led to the first big mistake just seconds into the meeting.


"The pitch meeting, according to Steph's father Dell, who was present, kicked off with one Nike official accidentally addressing Stephen as "Steph-on," the moniker, of course, of Steve Urkel's alter ego in Family Matters."

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Dell Curry added that the mistake was never corrected by any of the Nike team, who were without the organisation's lead deal broker Lynn Merritt in the Oakland meeting.

Mistaken identity

The absence of Merritt was perhaps a sign that Nike didn't particularly see Curry as a 'must have' client. Their next mistake effectively confirmed that:

"A PowerPoint slide featured Kevin Durant's name, presumably left on by accident, presumably residue from repurposed materials," Sherwood Straus' report continues.

"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."

Golden State Warriors v Oklahoma City Thunder

Getting a potential client's name wrong, and then simply referring to another person entirely in the presentation is a pretty surefire way of putting them off signing with your company.


Having seen Curry go on to lead the Warriors to an NBA title as well as get his hands on an MVP trophy, Nike really must be kicking themselves when they look back on the ill-fated 2013 meeting.

Under Armour, meanwhile, should be grateful for their rival's slip up. According to Curry himself, though, they should also be thanking his young daughter, Riley.

The point guard told ESPN that Riley, aged just one at the time, selected Under Armour's Anatomix Spawn sneaker when it was laid out alongside designs from Nike and Adidas as he was deciding who to sign with.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

Nike continues to have some of the biggest athletes in the world on their books. The fact, though, that their high-profile list of clients doesn't include Curry can seemingly be traced back to two serious faux-paus' in the space of just a few hours in 2013.

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