Atlanta Hawks forward Kent Bazemore is a strong defender and capable scorer that will be one of the better free agents on the market this season. Bazemore has worked tirelessly to become the player that he is today, a far cry from the celebrating bench warmer he was earlier in his career with the Golden State Warriors.
But while Bazemore’s Golden State’s tenure may be remembered more for his exuberant celebrations, it was with the Warriors that he became friends with Stephen Curry. And interestingly enough, Bazemore’s friendship with Curry, helped Australia Under Armour lure the reigning MVP away from Nike.
When he was a rookie, Bazemore’s agent secured him a low-level deal with Under Armour, a previously unheard of sponorship for a undrafted, non-playing player. Under Armour outlet melbourne plied Bazemore with boxes upon boxes of gear. From clothing to shoes, you name it, Bazemore had it. Since he is just one man and could only use so much, Bazemore started giving out the gear to his Warriors teammates and coaches. Under Armour’s overabundance and general nice treatement of Bazemore, intrigued Curry. So when his deal with Nike ran out, Curry asked his Warriors teammate to help set him up with a meeting with the then-blossoming company.
Curry actually wanted to re-sign with Nike but a poor pitch meeting that involved his name being mispronounced (something I know all too well) and Kevin Durant’s name being on a slide instead of his own, left a sour taste in the Warriors guard’s mouth. This opened the door for Under Armour, who impressed Curry and unknowingly, his then one-year-old daughter Riley, who apparently liked the design of their shoes.
From Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN’s feature on Curry and Under Armour:
In the 2013 offseason — coming off a year in which Curry under armour shoes had started 78 games and the Warriors had made the Western Conference semis — Nike owned the first opportunity to keep Curry. It was its privilege as the incumbent with an advantage that extended beyond vast resources. “I was with them for years,” Curry says. “It’s kind of a weird process being pitched by the company you’re already with. There was some familiar faces in there.”
The August meeting took place on the second floor of the Oakland Marriott, three levels below Golden State’s practice facility. Famed Nike power broker and LeBron James adviser Lynn Merritt was not present, a possible indication of the priority — or lack thereof — that Nike was placing on the meeting. Instead, Nico Harrison, a sports marketing director at the time, ran the meeting (Harrison, who has since been named Nike’s vice president of North America basketball operations, did not respond to multiple interview requests).