Stephen Curry is set to join an exclusive club of NBA stars who have 10 or more signature sneakers when the NBA season approaches in October. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Derek Rose are the only players to reach this milestone. The four-time champion launched Curry Brand in partnership with Under Armor in 2020. Since the launch, Curry has released two signature sneakers and signed UConn basketball star Azzi Fudd to the NIL deal under his SC30 Inc brand.
Sports Illustrated Talk to Curry about the offseason after winning his fourth title and his sneaker line and what’s next.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
SI: What did you feel about this unofficial tournament compared to the others?
Stephen Curry: When you go to the tournament, whether you win or lose – it’s a very short time. So this quick turnaround is always interesting. Obviously you’d love to party all the time versus the alternative, but it was a journey. The first four weeks seemed hazy with the show. I went to a golf tournament in Tahoe, hosted an ESPYs tournament, and everything in between was family time. It was all amazing, and then you look up and you have seven weeks until bootcamp begins. So you’re always in a weird place between celebrating what happened and looking forward and trying to do it all over again. It feels great to have it because winning the championship and everything that comes with it is psychedelic.
SI: You’re approaching 10 years with Under Armor. Many people questioned your decision when you joined the brand. What can you say about the trip over the past ten years?
SC: I have to pretty much build something from scratch. UA had featured athletes before, like Brandon Jennings. But we got started right away, and in my second year I got into the featured business with the Curry 1, and now we’re about to launch our 10th shoe. Not everything in this field has been pretty, and there were a lot of educational experiences along the way, but that’s part of it when you’re doing business at the highest level. We launched Curry Brand, and hopefully as I approach the end of my career and beyond, we continue to build on my success on the court and continue to cultivate a love of sports in the communities that need this support. Really proud of what we’ve been able to do with Curry Brand, especially since we’re just getting started.
SI: How old are you really in your sneaker line? Why did you go this way in developing the previous old models?
SC: It’s wild. When the idea first came up, I think I laughed. It was the summer of 2013 when I signed up and got a look at what’s happened since and all the different iterations of my signature shoe—it seems like a long time, but on the other end it just doesn’t. Being able to bring back some of the classics with Flow technology is very exciting. You’ll see me wearing a lot of different things this year from Curry 10s to other shoes. So we hope there’s a strong appetite for some of the classics we’re releasing.
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SI: In the playoffs and finals, I went on to return to the Purple Curry 4 Flotros. What distinguishes this sneaker from you?
SC: You want all of your shoes to be everyone’s favorite, but every time I ask people, the four are usually at the top of their list. I just think it has the smooth top with a knit material and we just threw the FloTro in there and it just works. I think it’s a simple and classic look. Between curry 1 and 4 is people’s favourite. Being able to launch the Flotro with all fours is a great start because it has the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and cushioning with Flow now. Checks a lot of boxes.
SI: In 2013, you had one of the most talked about sneaker agencies ever. You mentioned that you went through the process of trying sneakers for other brands, but I want to know, how important was the experience of UA debut at the time? Did this sneaker have any impact on joining the company?
SC: 1000%. I’m trying to think about what Adidas and Nike had back then. I think it was like Crazylight or something. Spawn was something aesthetically different from everything I’d seen. It’s crazy how advanced the technology is, because if you put it on now it’s convenient, but you can definitely notice the difference. This shoe really spoke to me at the time I wanted to go and realized it was a good starting point for what I wanted to feel on the court. I think Clutchfit was then and then I went to Curry 1. So I’ll definitely bring back some of the Spawn variations because it’s part of the history of our partnership with UA and now the Curry Brand.
SI: You’re clearly the most important person when it comes to testing your signature sneaker. But how important is it to get feedback from the younger generation of hoops when they play in your shoes?
SC: It has always mattered because I have a certain profile of how I want my kicks to feel. I’m on the border at the end, I want to feel like I’m barefoot against a super bulky pillow. when we launched [Curry] 7, This is when we really reinforced the need and desire for this type of feedback from all different types of athletes. We launched Flow at the time, and this is an innovative technology that you want to make sure it’s not like, “Oh, I loved it,” because I’m with the brand you’re launching — you want it to actually serve the purposes and benefit behind it. When we got to 7 and 8 we wanted to broadcast this part of the brand more and we will continue to do so.
SI: Only a handful of people have made it to 10 distinct models of sneakers. What can we expect with Curry 10?
SC: The ten is wonderful. Without giving away the traits, there is a sense of completeness in terms of all the different iterations from 1-10 and all the appearances we have. There is also consistency in 8, 9 and 10 that depends on how advanced we are in terms of technology and innovation. A product is a great place where you want to continue creating an identity. We’ll stay for now, but we’ll also acknowledge some of the past and love the fact that we can make sure the ten elements are highlighted, but we also bring in the retro and lifestyle elements.
SI: The Night Celebration has turned into a global event. Will we see you incorporate you into your sneaker line in some way?
SC: Laugh. I would never say in terms of colorways collaboration and ideas.
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