Make no mistake about it: Steph Curry is a superstar. The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player is probably the league's best point guard and without a doubt its best pure shooter ever. However, this season saw the addition of fellow-MVP Kevin Durant to the already-stacked Golden State Warriors, and now that he is surrounded by even more talent, Curry will be hard-pressed to keep the spotlight on himself.
Indeed, the Warriors are doing quite the job spreading the wealth this season; while the team likely won't match its NBA all-time best 73-9 record from last year, its current 41-7 tally is the best in the league right now.
The addition of Durant means the Warriors will be that much more difficult to overcome for the rest of the Western Conference, and fans are already gearing up for a Finals rematch with the defending champions and Eastern Conference favorite Cleveland Cavaliers, who famously overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Warriors to take last season's crown.
While Curry will likely welcome the many Finals opportunities his super team will have over the coming years, playing alongside Durant means sharing more of the spotlight-and the stats.
With the NBA All Star Game in just a few weeks, Curry is on pace to regress statistically this season. The sharpshooter averaged a league-best 30.1 points per game last year; as for now, he is putting in about 25 points per game. In fact, Curry's rebounds, assists, total field-goal percentage, and three-point percentage are all down on the year.
So what does this mean for Under Armour UAA , a company that famously signed the under-appreciated Curry before his rise to stardom? The apparel retailer got an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with Curry, who quickly rose to be the face of the league's best team shortly after inking his deal with the brand, but now he stands next to Kevin Durant, a Nike NKE athlete.
As tough as it might be for Under Armour to hear this, the company may be best served by admitting that we have already surpassed "peak Curry." Sure, the 28-year old hooper still has plenty of great years left in him, but he will likely never surpass the level of fame he had while holding down his spot as the Warriors star.
This is a rough period for Under Armour regardless. Just today, the company announced its fourth-quarter 2016 financial results, and investors punished the company for its disappointing report. Shares of UAA plummeted more than 25% after management reported worse-than-expected earnings and revenue and slashed its 2017 guidance.
(Also Read: This is Why Under Armour is Crashing After Earnings )
Nevertheless, Under Armour was able to record revenue over the course of the year. While its North America sales growth slowed to just 6%, international revenues were up 55%, apparel grew by 7%, and footwear was up 36%. All of these categories their success to growth in basketball and the popularity of Steph Curry.
Under Armour will be able to cash Curry-backed checks for a long time, there is no denying that. There is also no denying Curry's continued talent. While he may be averaging 5 less points per game so far this year, he earned another All Star Game appearance and his team is the odds-on favorite to bring home the title.
However, if you are Under Armour, it is always a good time to find the next Steph Curry. It does not even have to be in basketball, but there will always be another soon-to-be superstar, neglected by the other sports apparel giants and ready to become the face of still-growing brand.
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