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One Steph Back, Two Stephs Forward

The market long dominated by Nike is suddenly in a three way arms race between the Kanye-power of Adidas and the ascendance of alien-cum-basketball player StephenCurry for Under Armour

A story out from ESPN reported on the way Nike botched their wooing of Steph Curry, clearly not valuing him enough as a potential spokesman that they didn't put much into their presentation. As Ethan Sherwood Strauss reports, "In the meeting, according to
Dell, there was never a strong indication that Steph would become a signature athlete with Nike. 'They have certain tiers of athletes,' Dell says. 'They have Kobe, LeBron and Durant, who were their three main guys. If he signed back with them, we're on that second tier.'" 

And that's only part of the story. From recruitment by a low profile teammate, to the fashion sense of his baby daughter Riley Curry playing a key role, Strauss' article is a fascinating read from top to bottom. Under Armour and the shoes and basketball uniforms they sell stand, along with the Golden State Warriors, as entities smart enough to be ready for the opportunity Steph presents, but still very lucky to be the ones benefiting from it. 

As Business Insider reports“Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank said in April that he wants to build a $1 billion basketball brand around Curry."  Whether this represents a real crack in the dominance of Nike or merely a blip, only time will tell. 
With reports out recently on the genius of the silicon valley start up thinking fueling the Warriors rise, it's worth pointing out that nobody but nobody could have predicted the historic run the Warriors are currently on, and the corresponding spike Under Armour sales that would follow the rise of it's leading brand ambassador. 

As the Warriors close in on a record-setting 73 win NBA regular season, sports apparel executives from the big 3 manufacturers are surely already scanning the horizon for the next low risk, high reward signing that can catapult their brand in the public eye. In the mean time, any basketball uniform is going to look good when the player wearing it does stuff like this

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