Stephen Curry has come a long way since releasing his first signature sneaker with Under Armour in 2015. The Warriors superstar is following in the footsteps of Michael Jordan and will launch his own label: the Curry Brand. The new line will give Curry the chance to build his own roster, have his own logo and create apparel, footwear and accessories across multiple categories including basketball and golf, with continued expansion in future seasons, such as running and women’s.
Curry spoke to Sports Illustrated about launching his own brand and why the time was right.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Why was it important to launch the Curry Brand right now?
I know there is a lot going on in our world and our society, in the sports world and elsewhere, but this is something we have been thinking about for a very long time. Trying to put the pieces together to see where we as a brand could make the most impact and I think where we have the most resources and the most access to be able to impact kids, create safe spaces to play, support programming, support coaches and leaders that are impacting our kids. COVID has taken a lot of that opportunity away, and it has highlighted the disparities in different parts of the country. We are starting here in Oakland with it and hoping we can branch out. We are doing what we can do best in terms of how play and sports teaches so much about ourselves and gives kids something to look forward to. We are playing our role, and that’s the biggest thing right now. We want to live out our purpose with our brand.
How long have you been working on the line?
It’s been off and on. The seed was planted about five years ago, but I think we hit the ground running about two years ago, in terms of what the brand would stand for and the opportunity that was in front of us to turn a purpose-driven brand into a success. This is just the beginning; we are planting the flag but over the next year you will start to see the action in what we are saying we will be able to do.
You mentioned that a big part of the Curry Brand will be about giving back. Can you dive more into what you plan on doing to help?
A big piece of the Curry Brand is going to be investing into youth sports and creating a network and support around kids’ participation in sports. We are starting with over a $1 million investment to people, programs, products and places—so that is our four P’s. Safe places to play, court refurbishments and investing in programs that will get kids active in a safe way in fields to play, courts and around the right people and influencers. And when it comes to products, you obviously want to be able to support their journey and performance and elevate their skill sets across the board, and all that will be a part of what you are buying into within the Curry Brand. So it’s all about living out our purpose and impacting as many kids as possible.
Curry Brand will feature footwear and apparel across multiple categories, including basketball, golf and running. Basketball is obvious, but why is it important to branch out to other sports?
Obviously, basketball is the no-brainer and my expression of what I do best, but when it comes to golf and when it comes running and training and when it comes other sports, that is part of my experience growing up. I always played other sports, got exposed to a lot of different skill sets and people, and that was big in my development. I feel like whatever a kid is interested in, we want to be able to present an opportunity to kind of live that out. We are going to start with basketball, and we want to make sure we have the product, programming and the arenas they would be able to go to and participate and hopefully scale out and brand out from there.
You are joining a rare list of guys who have their own subdivision underneath a major brand. We’ve seen it with MJ and Dwyane Wade. How does it feel to be a part of this group?
It’s kind of wild, bro, to be honest. It’s very surreal. I know a lot of people like to link it with Jordan Brand in terms of having a legacy brand attached to the company, and he is the GOAT standard of success when it comes to doing that, but we are going to do it a different way and something that is authentic to me. And again we are trying to plant our flag and just live out the purpose we are setting out to do with everything that we do and that for when it comes to product, when it comes to marketing, when it comes to our community give-back and our initiatives, all those things will be true to who I am and true to anybody that wants to participate and change the game for good.
One of my favorites things from this past year was the announcement that you are going to provide funding for Howard University’s first Division 1 golf program. Are we going to see the Curry Brand branch out and work with other HBCUs?
I hope so. That was and still is an amazing journey we are still on. We established the golf program at Howard for both the men’s and women’s side so opportunities like when we are growing the game or we are supporting participation and creating a North Star with other sports outside of basketball. The is one of the things I am most excited about as we get started on this journey. It’s kind of an open-ended road map. You want to be able to meet the needs and impact as many kids as possible. We are planning to do that, and it’s part of the ecosystem we are trying to create.
Are you planning to sign other athletes to the brand?
Absolutely. That is the long-term vision to be able to pass the torch off to people that are likeminded and put their name behind something good and do good in the community and be a part of overall impact and thinking outside of themselves. That is the long-term goal. We have some plans on that but nothing to talk about yet [laughs].
How will you measure success for the Curry Brand?
I think it is that perfect balance of continuing to scale to think ahead of what we put into the market, from that perspective, but staying true to who we are. We want to be a part of the culture and drive the culture and we want to be in position to anybody that buys into what the Curry Brand is that they are impacting a life in some shape or form. We can help those number of kids we can reach whether buying products but it’s about us changing lives, and we are hearing a lot of success stories that came from that. So staying true to ourselves is going to be the true measuring stick.
What can you tell us about the Curry 8?
Just like Curry Brand, it is just something different, man. We have put a lot of work into it. We have a lot to showcase when it comes out. It’s something different that you have to experience, and for me to say that about a shoe, I have been in the game for six or seven years now, so I am really proud of it. Thankfully the season is right around the corner, so I get to rock it.
You have championships. You have your own movie production company. Now you have your own brand. What is next for Stephen Curry? Is there anything else that you want?
Win another championship and figure out the rest later [laughs].