On Sunday night, all eyes were on Stephen Curry as he led the Golden State Warriors to their 72nd regular season win, tying Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ 1995-96 record and putting them one game away from surpassing it.
But, as many NBA fans know, the Under-Armour sponsored Curry is not the only star on the most-headline-making team in the NBA team right now.
Basketball analysts have noted that other players comprising the Warriors’ talent-filled starting lineup — including forward Draymond Green and guard Klay Thompson — are a huge part of the secret sauce behind the team’s winning ways.
And in case you’ve missed it: This is a winning team.
While Curry’s endorsement deal with Under Armour has been the talk of the town — sales of the Curry One and Two helped to boost the brand’s footwear sales to $678 million in 2015, a 57 percent annual gain — there has been a lot of chatter about Thompson’s partnership with Chinese sneaker company Anta. Meanwhile, Green’s affinity toward Nike Inc.’s wares has been highly publicized. Not only is the All-Star known to hit the court in signature LeBrons (by Nike) quite often, Green said during an in-store interview at Foot Locker in Toronto in February that a signature deal with the brand “would be great,” adding, “but that’s on Nike. If the timing is right, it’s possible.”
Matt Powell, a sports industry analyst with The NPD Group, said he suspects that Green will have his share of suitors, including Nike, sooner or later — but a custom shoe could be a long shot.
“Green is certainly a very marketable player, especially on this team — I could see [him] getting shoe deal with Nike, but not a signature shoe,” Powell said. “Those contracts are very rare — [he could get a] player’s edition [shoe] at best.”
As for Thompson, who previously had a rookie shoe deal with Nike, some have questioned his decision to endorse a Chinese sneaker brand that is little known domestically.
Anta Sports Products Ltd., founded in 1994 in the Jinjiang, Fujian province in China, makes and markets retail sports equipment and shoes.
Thompson helped the brand create some U.S. buzz in February 2015, when the duo announced their partnership and also unveiled his signature shoe, the Anta KT Fire.
Thompson was the latest to join the Chinese shoemaker’s “basketball is priceless” team, which also includes NBA players Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Luis Scola and Chandler Parsons.
While he may be in decent company, should Thompson seek to align himself with a more domestically recognizable athletic brand?
Powell suggests Thompson may want to stay where his talents are valued — at least for now.
“Thompson signed with Anta for the money — as most of the players do,” said Powell. “I don’t think this hurts his marketability, and he is earning more by doing so.”
No harm, no foul, if you will.