As Stephen Curry builds out his namesake footwear and clothing company, his first signee is working her way up the college basketball ranks.
With four championships, two MVPs, and more than a quarter-billion dollars in NBA earnings to his name, Stephen Curry has done it all on the court. As the father of three looks to build his legacy outside of basketball, he’s now using his platform to create capital and spur change.
Curry Brand, the point guard’s footwear and apparel subsidiary within Under Armour, is the culmination of all things Steph, meant to express his social and athletic interests in a way that’s even bigger than he is.
To grow, Steph has invested in individuals that embody his passion for sport and society.
“It’s an honor to be the first player to be partnered with Curry Brand,” Fudd told Boardroom. “But to not only be the first person but also the first female? That meant a lot to me.”
Just as Steph changed basketball by elevating the importance of the three-point shot, he’s looking to impact how brands view athletes by making a women’s college player the featured face of his empire. For years, Steph has hosted his own camp for high school prospects, inviting those he saw himself in.
Fudd was among the first female attendees and will be far from the last.
“I was one of the first girls invited,” recalled Fudd, who now works as a counselor at the camp. “That was probably one of my favorite basketball memories. I got the bag of gear and my jaw dropped like, ‘This is all just for me!’ The guys were all too cool because they’re used to it, but walking in the gym and seeing Steph working out? I was so happy and excited to be there.”
While free gear from the game’s greatest shooter may have floored Fudd years ago, the two will work together for years to come in an effort to deliver apparel, sneakers, and campaigns intended to change the game and influence the industry.
For Fudd and Steph, the two business partners share a through-line of hard work and humility.
Game Recognize Game
Fudd met Curry in 2018 when she attended his Select Camp as one of only two woman athletes invited.
Prior to that, the talent at Under Armour had been eyeing her behind the scenes as she played high school hoops in the brand’s backyard of Washington, DC.
In Nov. 2020, two years after attending Curry’s camp, Fudd committed to UConn. A year later, she made her NCAA debut in a win over Arkansas. A couple months after that, she made her first start…and made a major impact.
Since showing up in Storrs, Fudd has landed NIL deals with the likes of Chipotle, American Eagle, and TikTok. She’s also struck a deal with BioSteel Sports Nutrition, where she is an equity partner. It’s all part of leveraging her greatness in the game for business opportunities off the court.
“NIL and college together is all that I know,” Fudd said. “My agents and my parents do a lot for me behind the scenes so that I can focus on basketball and school — the things that matter most.”
As her family and business brass filter through the requests, they seek partnerships that reflect her play and platform, and also her personal relationships.
Such an opportunity came in December 2021 when Fudd announced a multi-dimensional partnership with Curry Brand. A year later, it’s just hitting its stride.
“Azzi Fudd is the best choice to start a brand relationship like this because she is the next face of women’s basketball,” Steph Curry said at the time of the signing. “Our values are aligned when it comes to family, and in terms of hard work and for the appreciation of blessings in your life.”
The second season of Curry Brand and Fudd’s freshman year aligned in a historic fashion. Over the span, Steph took home his first Finals MVP and Azzi won Big East Freshman of the Year while UConn advanced to the national title game.
As the designers at Curry Brand remain busy amplifying stories from Steph’s history, the marketing team plans for Fudd’s future. After averaging 12 points a night in her debut season, the Storrs sophomore spent part of the summer working at the Select Camp, training with Steph, and shooting campaigns for future Curry Brand activations.
Timing is of the essence as Fudd’s Huskies are backed by Nike, a rival sponsor, meaning she can’t wear Curry Brand sneakers on the court during her regular season or March Madness moments.
“This summer has been my first chance to really wear and rep Curry Brand and be with Steph in person for a shoot,” Fudd said. “Now getting to learn from him in person and see how he works? I’ve learned a lot.”
Since last season ended, Fudd has leaned into her Curry connection. She’s backed Steph on shoe launches as she’s worked on her own game behind the scenes. The timing has been brilliant for both as Steph stole the spotlight all spring and into the summer, winning his fourth NBA Championship while rotating Curry 4 FloTros and Curry 9s.
While Azzi watched, she also activated.
“She was just used for International Women’s Day for the WNBA with her being the face of it,” Steve Segears, Global Merchandising/Senior Merchant for Curry Brand, told Boardroom in July. “We did the Title IX colorway, which sold out. The proceeds are going back to fighting for that cause. One of our biggest pillars is leaving any community or cause better than we found it and that’s one thing that’s really ingrained from a Stephen standpoint.”
For her sophomore season in Storrs — and for each summer after — Fudd will continue to hone her skillset while promoting her partnership with Curry Brand. She’ll lead the Huskies in heat from the Nike Kyrie and KD lines in NCAA action, while amplifying Steph’s shoes in NIL.
In both spaces, however, she’ll continue to learn the business as Steph builds his brand.
Even at a Nike school, Fudd remains aligned with the future of Steph’s footwear line.
“It’s pretty crazy to see myself when you open the Under Armour website representing this brand,” Fudd said. “I had never thought about the behind-the-scenes of any of this stuff. I’m learning that there’s so much that goes into building not just a brand but a shoe and a company. I’ve met so many incredible people along the way.”
Fudd says she has worked on a couple of designs tied to her teams back home. They’re deep in personal meaning and should be coming out soon. When she returns to her high school in DC — the same place Under Armour execs discovered her — she’ll represent Curry Brand not in just shoes, but spirit.
See, if a Jumpman speaks to excellence and fearlessness, the Curry emblem equates to humility and hard work.
“[Steph] became one of my favorite players because of how he acted around us,” Fudd said. “He’d hop in drills with us, teach us, and give us advice. He wasn’t Hollywood and I just loved his personality. His attention to detail? I aspire to be at that level. Getting to work with him and seeing all that firsthand? It’s a great reminder of where I want to be on the women’s side. He’s just such a great role model to have.”
Since meeting Steph at his camp in 2018, the camp has developed an entire women’s division. After her sophomore season, Fudd will return to the camp as a coach, counselor, and role model.
Once she graduates from UConn, she’ll leave as much more.
“She will be the face of the women’s Curry Brand for years,” Segears said. “As she makes her ascent into the WNBA we can get even louder with some of the stories that she wants to bring to life.”
- New “Timothy Goodman” KD15 Colorway Debuts at Nike’s The Swoosh Classic
- Derek Jeter’s Arena Club Announces $10 Million Series A Fundraising Round
- Week 14 NFL Predictions & Picks 2022
- Embracing College Basketball’s Year of the Big Man
- XFL Uniforms: League Reveals Under Armour Designs For All 8 Teams