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Morning Shootaround — Aug. 24

VIDEO: Stephen Curry’s profile continues to rise, on and off the court, in the wake of his MVP and championship season


Curry to star in Under Armour campaign | LeBron’s busy summer continues with Survivor’s Remorse | Wesley Matthews says he’ll be ready for opening night

No. 1: Curry joins Tom Brady, Jordan Spieth in Under Armour’s first major brand campaign — Champions are the focus of Under Armour’s first major brand campaign. Tom Brady, Jordan Spieth and Golden State Warriors star and KIA MVP Stephen Curry will all be featured in the campaign, that will debut this week. It’s the latest superstar turn for Curry, whose magical year that began with a gold medal at the FIBA World Cup in Spain and continued with his first MVP award and the Warriors’ first title in 40 years in June. ESPN’s sports business guru Darren Rovell has the details:

Tom Brady won another Super Bowl. Stephen Curry won an MVP and an NBA title. Jordan Spieth won the Masters and the U.S. Open. Misty Copeland became the first African-American to become a principal dancer at a major ballet company.

It has been a big year for Under Armour’s most high-profile spokespeople, and the company this week will start to roll out its first major brand campaign featuring all of them. It’s called “Rule Yourself,” and the idea summons Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that it takes 10,000 hours of practice at something to be the best.

In the first spot, called “Anthem,” the premise is accomplished through speeding up those hours by showing thousands of replicas of Curry, Spieth and Copeland going through their repetitions.

“We sat around [founder and CEO] Kevin Plank’s table, and we talked about the momentum we’ve had this year, telling our brand story through the lens of the hottest athletes in the world, and the one thing that was constant, whether you are young or old, is that in order to be the best you have to train consistently on the field, court and gym and improve every day,” said Adrienne Lofton, the company’s senior vice president of brand marketing.

In the past year, the shots Curry takes before every game and his ball handling warm-up drill have received plenty of accolades. Less evident is what it took for Spieth to achieve his success, and, even more behind the scenes, what it took for Copeland — often 10 hours daily in a studio.

Brady’s spot, which takes on a similar theme, is still scheduled to make its debut in the coming weeks. Sources said his alleged role in “Deflategate” — and his four-game suspension, which is under appeal — never put him in jeopardy with Under Armour.

The spots were done in partnership with ad firm Droga5. The special effects were created by having five cameras focus on the athletes from different vantage points as they went through their motions. Computer-generated imagery was then used to give the effect of a thousand replicas.

Although direct sales from Brady, Curry, Spieth and Copeland are relatively small in the scheme of things, the momentum is palpable. Five years ago, Nike did 19 times the business Under Armour did. In 2015, that lead is expected to be cut to eight times. Footwear sales, most recently on the back of Curry’s first signature shoe, has grown by 40 percent for each of the past four quarters, while its total golf business has doubled in the past two years.


No. 2: LeBron’s busy summer continues with a second season of Survivor’s Remorse — He never seems to slow down, LeBron James. Hoops icon, Hollywood star, philanthropist and mogul … LeBron finds a way to just about everything during his NBA offseason.  The second season of Survivor’s Remorse, the Starz show LeBron and his longtime business partner Maverick Carter serve as executive producers of, kicked off Saturday night. After an interesting rookie season for the show, the driving forces behind it guarantee bigger and better during the sophomore campaign. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports spoke with the head writer and creator, Mike O’Malley, and others about the nuts and bolts of the show:

What did you know about the behind the scenes life of an NBA superstar? How much did you have to rely on the Maverick Carter and LeBron James?

I like to joke I got cut from the freshmen basketball team in Nashua, New Hampshire in 1981, so I love the game of basketball but the show really isn’t about basketball. It’s about a family and fame and character. What do I know about it: I know what it’s like to be a son. I know what it’s like to be a brother. I know what it is to be a cousin. I know what it is to be a friend and to leave my hometown and pursue something that people think that you’ll fail at just by the nature of your pursuit. Does that fuel you? And look, maybe they’re right.

LeBron and Maverick, they know and they can vet at any moment in the scripts that deal with the business of basketball and the playing of basketball, and I know that’s very important to both of them. Maverick is involved on a granular level. He’s reading every script. We’re talking almost daily when we’re in production and certainly thrice-weekly about moments in the script. These guys don’t want to walk into an arena and have someone say, ‘Well that would never happen.’

The sports side, the sports business side and what it’s like to be a professional athlete, they have a big influence of that authenticity, and they just want to tell stories about people doing the right thing and people doing the wrong thing.

What we’ve tried to do is construct characters that are completely fictional so none of it comes back on people saying ‘Well did that happen in LeBron’s life?’ No. By design, we made these people completely fictional so we didn’t have that tension. We didn’t want anything restricting us from trying to tell the truth about any particular topic.


No. 3: Wesley Matthews says he’ll be ready for Mavericks on opening night — No one wants the start of the 2015-16 NBA season the way Wes Matthews does. He’s fighting back from an Achilles injury that ended his season prematurely in Portland and is eager to show his new team, the Dallas Mavericks, that they made good in free agency by acquiring his services. Tim Cato of Mavs Moneyball caught up with Matthews on Sunday and did some digging:

Wesley Matthews said Sunday that he will be ready to play on Mavericks opening night despite tearing his Achilles in March when he was with the Portland Trail Blazers.

“I’m getting stronger every single day, doing more every single day,” Matthews told Mavs Moneyball, saying that he’s currently shooting and dribbling on the court. He’s also taking pull-up jumpers off the bounce, but the next thing that he will be cleared to do is just “more basketball activity using more force, more explosion.”

The 28-year-old Matthews was signed to a maximum four-year contract by the Dallas Mavericks this offseason and spent Sunday afternoon at Academy helping 30 kids with a back-to-school shopping spree through the Drive2Greatness foundation.

“I’m gonna say I’ll be ready by opening night,” Matthews said. Later on, when asked if would put that prediction in stone, he said yes.


SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Stan Van Gundy will have a point guard quandary on his hands this season when Brandon Jennings returns from injury and joins a group that also includes Reggie Jackson … Kobe Bryant kicked off his birthday weekend by celebrating with (his daughters and) Taylor Swift … Andrei Kirilenko will do his best to revive the Russian Basketball Federation

One Comment

  1. Harriethehawk says:

    Kobe Bryant is enjoying his summer. Hope he enjoys his winter as a Faker.