When basketball star Kevin Durant’s contract with Nike was up in 2014, Under Armour took a shot at signing him. Three years later, the Golden State Warriors forward is taking a different kind of shot at the Baltimore-based athletic brand.
The NBA champion was a recent guest on “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” and in the audio released Monday, he did not mince words when the topic of Under Armour’s reputation with young basketball players today was presented.
“I think a lot of kids, to be honest, they don’t choose [the University of] Maryland unless they play in an Under Armour system coming up,” the NBA champion said on the podcast. “Shoe companies have a real, real big influence on where these kids go. Nobody wants to play in Under Armours, I’m sorry. The top kids don’t, because they all play Nike … The kids that play that grew up in the Under Armour system, they go to Maryland.”
Despite these feelings from Durant, young athletes who have participated in Under Armour basketball initiatives have not only had success in the college ranks, but have also chosen to sign with the brand at the start of their pro career (most recently with the ninth overall draft pick for the Dallas Mavericks in the 2017 NBA Draft, Dennis Smith Jr.). Smith was invited to the SC30 Select Camp in 2015 before playing college ball at N.C. State (an Adidas-sponsored school).
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