What Has Stephen Curry Meant to Under Armour?

Chronicling the MVP's influence on an emerging basketball brand.

I used to want to be just like Mike. I wanted to be that guy sporting Nikes and dropping jumpers in the other guy's grill.

Today, I don't feel as strongly about that dream. And It's not because I'm getting older and don't play nearly as much as I used to.

For as long as I can remember, Nike and Adidas have been the two brands in the basketball market (outside of Allen Iverson's Reebok line, of course). Adidas has made NBA jerseys since 2006 and will continue to do so until 2017, when their 11-year contract ends. 

Earlier this year, Adidas decided not to  pursue an extension to the contract, letting Nike swoop in to secure an eight-year partnership with the Association. This will, without a doubt, only continue the Nike (and its Jordan subsidiary) reign we've seen over the years, especially since the Michael Jordan era. With the success of Kobe Bryant and the more recent emergence of the marketing force that is LeBron James, Nike has been dominating the basketball shoe market.

In 2014, Nike had a  95.5% market share of a $4.2 billion basketball shoe market. Adidas came in at 2.6% and Reebok with a measly .8%.

But it was Under Armour who made a jump from just .35% in 2013 to 1% in 2014. And I have a feeling that number's only going up from here.

An Under(Armour)dog

For his first four years in the league, Stephen Curry wore Nike. But after Nike offered a mere $2.5 million in 2013, this happened. Under Armour offered the star point guard a contract close to $4 million and Nike refused to match as they were unsure if Curry would ever be able to sell signature shoes.

Score one for the underdogs. 

At $4 million, Curry has turned out to be a steal. Prior to being drafted, LeBron signed a seven-year deal with Nike worth $90 million, with a signing bonus of $10 million alone. He has since signed an extension. Kevin Durant signed a deal with Nike last year worth $300 million over 10 years, after turning down Under Armour's matching offer.

This summer, MVP runner-up James Harden scored a 13-year deal with Adidas worth $200 million.

Who'd he lose the MVP to? None other than Chef Curry.

Baby-Faced Assassin

From the time he signed his first deal with Under Armour to this very day, Curry has been one of the best players in the NBA. The numbers do not lie.

Player nERD VORP BPM Win Shares WS/48
Stephen Curry 35.0 14.6 8.6 29.0 0.255
James Harden 33.8 13.3 7.1 29.2 0.244
Kevin Durant 32.9 10.4 8.2 24.0 0.286
LeBron James 29.5 13.9 8.2 26.3 0.234

Not only has Curry been extremely efficient but he's also been super valuable. That has translated to a 2015 MVP award and many many Warrior wins over the past two seasons.

Since the start of the Warriors' 2013 season, no other team has won more games. The Warriors have won 118 games -- 16 more than the Knicks and Lakers combined over the same two-year span. Their Margin of Victory of 611.00 is over 40 more than the next closest team, the San Antonio Spurs.

This year, Golden State capped off their magnificent two-year run with an NBA championship.

MVP and Champion

Not only was he named MVP of the league, but Curry has been Under Armour's MVP and a champion of the brand. I know there have been many other changes over the last 23-plus months but it doesn't seem so coincidental that Under Armour has taken off since Curry's emergence as a star under their logo.

Under Armour Stock

Click here for larger chart

This chart shows the progression of Under Armour's stock price since October 1, 2013. On that date it was being sold at $41.345 a share. As the months go on, with the exception of just a couple small drops, the stock price climbs. On October 1, 2014 the stock was being sold for $66.37 per share and two days prior to Golden State's first playoff game on April 18, 2015, the stock reached $85.71 a share -- the highest it had been to that point.

The stock seems to have leveled off at that point until Under Armour announced their new partnership with the NBA on August 10th. It then saw four straight days over the $100 mark before dropping back down to about $95 a share.

Then yesterday happened. Curry extended his deal with Under Armour through 2024. It's reported that the deal is in the range of what Harden got from Adidas but also with an equity stake in the company. 

As a result of the Curry deal and company CEO Kevin Plank's expectations for revenues to double by 2018, the company's stock ($103.36) finished at an all-time high yesterday.

I know there are many more factors that come into play here, but there's no denying the connection between the growth of Curry and the success Under Armour has enjoyed over the past two years.

They should be sure to send compliments to the Chef -- he's the real MVP. The numbers, with and without dollar signs, back that up.