Stephen Curry is set to join an exclusive club of NBA superstars who have 10 or more signature sneakers when the NBA season tips off in October. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose are the only players to ever reach the milestone. The four-time champion launched the Curry Brand in partnership with Under Armour in 2020. Since the launch, Curry has released two signature sneakers and signed UConn basketball star Azzi Fudd to an NIL deal underneath his SC30 Inc. brand.
Sports Illustrated spoke to Curry about his offseason after winning his fourth title, his signature sneaker line and what’s next.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
SI: What has felt different about this championship offseason compared to the others?
Stephen Curry: When you go to the championship, whether you win or lose—it’s a very short offseason. So that quick turnaround is always kind of interesting. Obviously you would love to be celebrating the entire time opposed to the alternative, but it’s been a ride. The first four weeks felt like a blur with the parade. I went to a golf tournament in Tahoe, hosted the ESPYs, and everything between was family time. All of that has been amazing, and then you look up and you have seven weeks until training camp starts. So you are always in the weird spot in between celebrating what happened and looking ahead trying to do it again. It’s a great feeling to have because winning a championship and everything that comes with it is pretty dope.
SI: You are approaching 10 years with Under Armour. A lot of people questioned your decision when you joined the brand. What can you say about the journey these past 10 years?
SC: I got to build something from scratch pretty much. UA had signature athletes before, like Brandon Jennings. But we started right away, and in my second year I got into the signature business with the Curry 1, and now we are about to launch the 10th shoe. Not everything about it has been pretty, and there have been a lot of learning experiences along the way, but that’s part of it when you are doing business at the highest level. We launched the Curry Brand, and hopefully as I go toward the end of my career and even beyond, we continue to leverage my success on the court and continue to grow the love of sports in communities that need that support. Really proud of what we have been able to do with Curry Brand, especially as we are just getting started.
SI: How wild is it that you are already at the retro stage in your sneaker line? Why go this route in evolving previous older models?
SC: It’s wild. When the idea first came up, I think I laughed. It was summer 2013 when I signed and you look back at what has happened since then and all the different iterations of my signature shoe—it seems like a long time, but on the other end it doesn’t. Being able to bring back some of the classics with the Flow technology is extremely exciting. You are going to see me wearing a lot of different stuff this year from the Curry 10s to the other shoes. So hopefully there’s a strong appetite out there for some of the classics that we relaunch.
SI: In the playoffs and the Finals you kept going back to the Purple Curry 4 Flotros. What is it about that sneaker that makes it so special to 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 sleek upper with the knit material and we threw the FloTro on there and it just works. I think it’s simple and a classic look. Between the Curry 1’s and the 4’s are people’s favorites. The ability to launch Flotro with the fours is an amazing start because it has the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and cushioning with the Flow technology now. It checks a lot of boxes.
SI: In 2013 you had one of the most talked-about sneaker free agencies ever. You mentioned you went through a process of trialing sneakers for other brands, but I want to know, how important was trialing that UA spawn back then? Did that sneaker have any influence to join the company?
SC: 1000%. I am trying to think of what Adidas and Nike had at the time. I think it was like Crazylight or something like that. The Spawn was just something different aesthetically from everything I’ve seen. It’s crazy how much technology has advanced, because if you put them on now they are comfortable, but you can definitely notice the difference. That shoe really spoke to me at the time of where I wanted to go and I knew it was a good springboard for what I wanted a shoe to feel like on the court. I believe Clutchfit was after that and then I went into the Curry 1. So I will definitely bring some Spawn variations back because it’s part of the history of my partnership with UA and now Curry Brand.
SI: You are obviously the most important person when it comes to testing your own signature sneakers. But how important is getting feedback from the younger generation of hoopers when they are playing in your shoes?
SC: It’s always been important because I have a certain profile on how I want my kicks to feel. I border on the end of, I want to feel like bare feet opposed to super-mega cushion. When we launched the [Curry] 7, that is when we really solidified the need and the want for that type of feedback from all different types of athletes. We launched Flow at the time, and that’s such an innovative technology that you want to make sure that it’s just not like, ‘Oh I like it,’ because I am with the brand that is releasing it —you want it to have actual functioning purposes and benefit behind it. When we got to the 7 and 8 we wanted to broadcast that part of the brand more and we are going to continue to do that.
SI: Only a few people have reached 10 signature sneaker models. What can we expect with the Curry 10?
SC: The 10’s are cool. Without giving away what the themes are, there’s a sense of completion in terms of all the different iterations from the 1-10 and all the looks we have. There is also a consistency in the 8, 9 and 10 that are predicated on how far we have come in terms of technology and innovation. The product is such an amazing place that you want to continue to create an identity. We will stay in the now but we will also acknowledge some of the past and I like the fact that we can make sure the 10’s are highlighted but bringing in the retros and the lifestyle stuff as well.
SI: The ‘night, Night celebration has turned into a global thing. Are we going to see you incorporate you within your sneaker line somehow?
SC: Laughs. I would never say never in terms of collaborations and ideas for colorways.
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