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Steph Curry signs supermax deal with Under Armour

Curry’s new deal with the apparel company makes him president of Curry Brand and could be one of the most lucrative endorsement deals in history.

New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors
Steph Curry will clearly be expanding Curry Brand’s mouth guard division as president.
Photo by Loren Elliott/Getty Images

Steph Curry had one year left on his Under Armour endorsement contract. The shoe and apparel company weren’t willing to let him enter endorsement free agency, so Under Armour decided, “We must protect this house!” and signed Curry to the athletic wear equivalent of a supermax contract.

Terms of the extension aren’t public, but they’re believed to include a substantial amount of stock in the company and royalties on sales of Curry Brand products, as well Curry’s base pay. He’s also been promoted to president of Curry Brand. Last fall, as negotiations on the new deal began in earnest, Rolling Stone speculated that it could be a lifetime deal worth in excess of a Dr. Evil-esque ONE BILLION DOLLARS.

While the deal is not explicitly a lifetime contract, Under Armour’s founder, Kevin Plank, stated that the deal would automatically extend based on sales hitting certain revenue targets, which seems fairly plausible. Curry isn’t getting any less popular, and he’s currently on his tenth signature sneaker.

For comparison, LeBron James has a lifetime deal with Nike that’s estimated to pay him around $30 million annually. Curry’s deal appears to be more stock-heavy, with upside and downside based on how well his products sell.

Curry signed with Under Armour back in 2013, when the company was more associated with sweat-wicking workout shirts than footwear. Two years before Curry was an MVP and NBA champion, Nike let him slip away thanks to a disastrous meeting where the company rep mispronounced his first name and re-used slides from an earlier pitch to Kevin Durant that still had KD’s name on them.

How did he end up with Under Armour? Because the company signed a young player more known for his bench celebrations than his on-court play, Kent Bazemore. Nike was stingy with their gear while Bazemore got so much UA gear he claims “I didn’t wash clothes for like two months.”

Phil Knight was treating Curry like an NBA ref watching Steph get hit in the act of shooting, and meanwhile Under Armour offered him $4 million per year and a signature shoe. Speaking of those shoes, the Curry Chiefs were thoroughly mocked as shoes for old people, nurses, and dorks when they came out in 2016. But to paraphrase Michael Jordan, dorks buy shoes too! The shoes sold out in a month, and in 2016, Curry’s shoe sales were second only to Michael Jordan.

The relationship between Curry and Under Armour got rocky before his previous deal. Curry didn’t like how the company was promoting the shoes, and he definitely didn’t like that Plank was supporting Donald Trump. The two smoothed things over, in part because they created Curry Brand, a special division akin to what Jordan has with Nike.

Basically, Under Armour used to be the Chris Cohan Golden State Warriors, and thanks to Steph, they’re the Joe Lacob Golden State Warriors. The success should continue, unless Under Armour replaces all their veteran marketing executives with 20-year-olds, and the CFO punches the CMO, and an ANTA factory in Sacramento starts making amazing shoes... but that could never happen, right?

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