Under Armour and Stephen Curry are changing basketball and beyond
Curry Brand is the virtuous evolution of the brand-athlete relationship
Change the game for good. The mantra highlighted by all the pages related to Curry Brand is not the classic, impactful lexical form devoid of real will, content and action.
Stephen Curry is changing the game for good. He’s been doing it on the hardwood since way back in the 2009 NBA Draft, he’s doing it outside of it. The philanthropic spirit of the visionary leader of the Golden State Warriors is in fact one of the most multifaceted and effective of the entire world sports scene.
His brand, son of Under Armour in a relationship that traces the mythical one between Nike and Jordan, has become much more than a simple showcase for siganture sneakers: Curry Brand is an evolution of the brand-athlete binomial, a new scenario for this kind of connection, capable of touching unexplored and virtuous spheres, Metaverse and real communities, hardwood floors and education.
FROM FIGHTING MALARIA TO ‘EAT. LEARN. PLAY.’
The first big step in the social commitment of the Dell’s son, well-known shooting-guard of the fabulous Charlotte Hornets of the ’90s, arrived in 2012, with a special donation formula for the ‘Nothing But Nets’ foundation, committed to fighting the spread of malaria in Africa.
Introduced to the subject by his collegiate teammate at Davidson Bryant Barr, Curry decided to donate three mosquito nets for every three points scored. The sensitivity Curry developed towards this problem also led him to the White House, where in 2015 he was able to speake before Barack Obama and to support the President’s Malaria Initiative.
It’s just a small but significant appetizer of what, with the passage of time and the related personal maturation, would turn into a much more articulated humanitarian vision.
Marked by the awareness of a different childhood than many of his colleagues, lived in the ease of a wealthy family, and by a deep connection with Christian values, as evidenced by the now iconic gesture ‘touch of the chest-forfinger to the sky’ after each basket, the number 30 of the Warriors begun to concretize his solidarity beliefs in 2019, when he established the foundation ‘Eat. Learn. Play.’ along with his wife Ayesha.
“We’re committed to unlocking the amazing potential of every child by fighting to end childhood hunger, ensuring students have access to a quality education, and providing safe places for all children to play and be active”, this is the Currys’ signature programmatic manifesto: a series of virtuous goals pursued through the multifaceted synergy with Under Armour.
BETWEEN NFT AND REALITY, BETWEEN TRIPLES AND OPPORTUNITIES
It’s not a mistery that Stephen Curry has changed Under Armour’s history. Signed back in 2013, the three-time NBA champion and two-time MVP unquestionably marked the beginning of a golden basketball era for the Maryland-based brand.
At the same time, however, the relationship between Curry and Under Armour has allowed the Akron native to structure and explore a long series of social initiatives: initiatives that are also atypical and, in some ways, visionary, as recently happened on the occasion of the 2974th triple hit in an official NBA game, an all-time league record.
2974 digital replicas of the shoes worn by Curry in the historic Madison Square Garden game have been put on sale with an NFT drop to celebrate the milestone. These ‘meta-versic’ shoes sold out after just a few hours and nearly 80% of the $1 million total (the single price of each shoe was $333) was donated to charities that support sports access for youth.
Access to sport that Curry and Under Armour pursue by working into the most problematic neighborhoods, supporting on the one hand foundations rooted in Oakland, as evidenced by the collaborations with the Oakland Parks, Recreation & Youth Development and the Oakland Athletic League, and on the other hand international realities such as the Australian Charity Bounce.
The UA-Steph binomial wants to build the tools, the foundations for the human and sports progress of the new generations. The renovation of the courts, the reclamation of abandoned spaces and the support of the school system are the three areas on which this shared sensibility is most focused. The recruitment of coaches-mentors is equally fundamental to this vision: people who go on missions to sensitive areas with the sole purpose of changing lives through words, basketball knowledge and positive influence (cornerstones summarized by the non-profit organization Positive Coaching Alliance, also supported by the Curry Brand).
Curry and Under Armour have recently given further proof of their closeness to children’s issues, involving the famous Muppets of Sesame Street in the new collection of Curry Flow 9. The renowned puppets, in addition to giving a new and original color identity to the sneakers used by the Warriors’ sharpshooter, are a tangible symbol of the principles listed above.
“Curry Brand and Sesame Street, we preach the same message. It’s about supporting all kids, especially those in underserved communities who are looking for an opportunity to be their best selves”, this is the statement that accompanied the launch of the seven different colorways dedicated to this collaboration.
Once again, in addition to example, Curry and Under Armour followed through with action, siding with the non-profit organization Sesame Street, which is committed to children’s education.
Change the game for good. In a world of overpaid testimonials, of athletes-influencers, of vacuous stars, Stephen Curry is marking a new path: the path of shared greatness, of the relationship with a brand that doesn’t stop at the photo shoot or advertising, of the active and constant involvement in real issues.
Stephen Curry is changing the game, the real game, for good. And we have to remember this every time we see him release a floater at dizzying heights, shake the ball in vertiginous ball-handling, launch fairy arrows from nine meters after a few steps of basketball dance.
Because excellence must inspire. Not just near the three point line.
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