“Stephen Curry is the next big name in sneakers”: When Julius Erving got his prediction horribly wrong about who would be the next Michael Jordan in the shoe game
Stephen Curry has a long-standing deal with Under Armour, but $20 million per year isn’t something to be scoffed at.
When Stephen Curry joined Under Armour in 2014, the sneaker world sat up to take notice. It was the first time someone of his stature signed with something other than Nike or Adidas. Julius Erving was hyped to see him sign with UA, and he was rooting for him to be the next big thing in the Sneaker Culture in 2017. The American manufacturer was exploring various cushioning technologies, and it was generally an exciting time.
This was when he was on his 4th iteration (the one with the Tuxedo colourway that was so sweet), but they plateaued. They stopped putting the Hovr tech causing waves at the time, and it’s now become X-Flow. While the tech may be cool, it does not sell. They also do not inspire too many NBA athletes too, because barely anyone wears them.
In a study done about what the most popular sneakers are in the league worn by athletes, Steph Curry and his models don’t even make the top 13. The second most worn shoes are actually from Kyrie Irving. He joins his idol Kobe Bryant at the podium. Erving should have picked someone from Nike as a safe bet because no one, not even the athletes, wear Under Armours.
Stephen Curry may have publicised Under Armour, but he did not do much for their sales as they hoped he would
When it comes to basketball shoes, Nike still rules the roost. Converse took a tumble from grace, from being the leading seller in the 70s to being worn by 1% of the players in 2022. Under Armour isn’t doing as bad as that, but they aren’t doing amazing either. 4 people in the league wear the Curry line, including him. That is terrible, considering they wanted him to be their Jordan.
But the best part about the survey is that the Kobe Protro model has been the best-selling shoe in the past year. It could be because of a multitude of reasons. One, the Kobe line just made sense for a lot of players. He put in so much R&D and trial and error to perfect his line that it just fit various use cases. 2, with his recent passing, players want to own his sneaker line.
The funny part is Paul George’s models make up more numbers for Nike than MJ, maybe because the newer Jordan models suck. They go too futuristic with their design, and the tech is not worth the weight in gold anymore. PG is a surprisingly good model, with the traction pattern and the uppers being a good combination for big men who want to move freely.
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