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For decades, Nike has been a company that has done marketing better than pretty much anyone in the world. They were the first company to be named Advertiser of the Year twice by the Cannes Advertising Festival. Over the years, they have scored some of sport’s greatest endorsement deals which benefit both the company and the athletes who endorsed those products. Late last year we wrote about the insane deal Nike signed with LeBron James.
But not even a company like Nike is faultless. Even Nike’s people can make mistakes. Huge mistakes. Unnecessary mistakes. The biggest mistake they made in a long, long time came in the summer of 2013 when they tried to resign Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, a skilled point guard on a promising young team.
To their defense, Curry would only truly explode some time later, in the 2014-15 NBA Season during which he would become the league’s MVP and the leader of a championship team. During this and the next season (which we are still enjoying so very much), Curry would become one of the two best players in the league and a historically great shooter.
Simply put, the kids around the world are pretending to be Steph Curry when they are playing basketball. In 2013, Nike could not predict all that, but they could have showed some respect to the young player. Maybe they would have fared better. According to Ethan Sherwood Strauss from ESPN.com who referenced Steph’s father Dell in his article, one of the Nike people called Stephen Steph-on during a meeting. Moreover, one of the slides showed the name of Kevin Durant instead of Curry’s, clearly showing they simply reused material they used to woo the OKC Thunder star. According to Dell, that was that.
In addition to this, Nike refused to sponsor basketball camps that would carry Curry’s name, which was a huge part of the deal for him. The company that agreed to all of Curry’s demands and that showed him all the respect he wanted and deserved turned out to be Under Armour who are now sitting on what is probably one of the best endorsement deals in history.
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