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SNEAKERS & FASHION

Ultimate Warrior: The Power of the Stephen Curry Jersey

As an icon of his era for a franchise with a past, Stephen Curry has sold a ton of jerseys despite playing for just one team. And his success on the apparel market isn’t slowing anytime soon.

On Nov. 16, 2021, Stephen Curry put on an absolute show — even by his standards.

Dropping a game-high 37 points, the Golden State Warriors point guard had an arena singing M-V-P chants with scores of fans fist-pumping in No. 30 jerseys bearing the name of the two-time MVP.

However, this signature night did not take place in the Chase Center, nor was it an exhibition on the other side of the bay at Oracle Arena. Rather, it was a road game at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

With Nets picked as the preseason favorite to win the title and the Warriors only in town for a night, how did the babyfaced assassin manage to commandeer the crowd?

And fundamentally, what was the irresistible force that drew so many fans to Brooklyn clad in Curry jerseys in the first place?

For starters, Curry jerseys have been booming in the Five Boroughs since 2015. Perhaps more important? When it comes to copping Curry jerseys, fans have long had plenty of options.

To mark the second annual NBA Jersey Day, let’s explore the enduring power of Steph Curry’s No. 30 on the apparel marketplace.

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Stephen Curry’s Adidas Debut

Over the course of his 13-year career, the Davidson alum has been lucky enough to play for the same franchise the whole time. While the name on the front of the jersey hasn’t changed, the logo affixed to it has.

(Lance Iversen/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

For the first eight seasons of Steph’s career, the NBA’s official outfitter was Adidas. Between three styles of the “We Believe” jerseys, the Warriors’ rebrand to yellow and blue, throwback nights, and All-Star appearances, Steph played in more than two dozen different jerseys made and released at retail by The Three Stripes:

  • “We Believe” jerseys: 3 (White, Navy, Orange)
  • Throwbacks: 5 (Yellow San Francisco, Royal San Francisco, Yellow The City, Royal The City, Yellow Golden State)
  • Modern Rebrand: 5 (Royal, White, Yellow, Black Alt, Blue Run-TMC Font)
  • Christmas: 3 (Mini-Logo 2014, Blue Cursive 2015, Solid Blue Cursive 2016)
  • Sleeve: 5 (Yellow, White, Black Chinese New Year, Black Alt, White Chinese New Year,)
  • All-Star: 4 (2014 NOLA, 2015 NYC, 2016 Toronto, 2017 NOLA)
  • Total Adidas jerseys: 25

Nike’s New Plan

In July of 2017, Nike began their new partnership with the NBA by unveiling their long-anticipated game uniforms.

To no surprise, the Swoosh selected the red-hot Golden State Warriors as the first franchise to show. To some surprise, Nike unveiled a whole new approach to naming and storytelling as far as game and fan gear is concerned.

“Association” and “Icon” editions played to traditional home and away ethos, instead letting the teams pick which colors they chose to wear regardless of locale. Additionally, Statement and City editions revised the idea of themed alternatives, playing to both the athlete’s mindset and inspiration from the community.

Lastly, Classic uniforms paid homage to the past while Earned editions celebrated making the playoffs.

On top of all these design options, the Warriors jersey boast an advertising patch presented by Rakuten. In 2018, Reuters reported that Rakuten’s deal with the Warriors was priced at $60 million over three years, residing as the league’s most expensive patch partnership.

Continuing to chase history and honor it, Steph has already suited up in a slew of Nike and Jordan Brand stamped jerseys in home, away and All-Star exhibitions. At this pace, there are an array of options available at retail, with many more likely come:

  • Association: 1 (White)
  • Icon: 2 (Royal, Royal w/ Yellow Logo)
  • Statement 1 (Gold The Bay)
  • Classic: 7 (Royal Warriors, Gold “The City,” Royal “The City,” White Warriors, Yellow Warriors, White San Francisco, White “We Believe”)
  • City: 6 (Black “The Town” Yellow Neck, Black “The Town” Blue Neck, Navy Oakland, Black “Golden State of Mind,” Yellow “The Bay,” Navy “The Bay”)
  • Earned: 1 (Gold The Town)
  • All-Star: 4 (Los Angeles 2018, Charlotte 2019, Chicago 2020, Atlanta 2021)
  • Total Nike/Jordan Brand jerseys: 22 (and counting)

As Curry approaches another All-Star berth this February and as Nike continues to showcase the Warriors as a marquee team for Classic colors, don’t be surprised if the shooting star surpasses 50 styles of uniforms by the time he retires.

At this pace, hitting the 60-jersey mark may even be in play.

Stephen Curry and LeBron James during a 2015 game at Oracle Arena (Scott Strazzante/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

No. 30’s Long Legacy

Stephen Curry is thriving in an era of abundance.

His slight stature, shooting showmanship, and accolades make Curry relatable and marketable in both hemispheres — proving popular in Japan and China alike. With the Warriors once again in talks of title contention and Curry cooking up what could be another MVP season, there’s a new narrative and energy around the player and the franchise.

Even better, there are new threads to celebrate it.

“Stephen Curry perennially has one of the best-selling jerseys across all sports for Fanatics,” said Jack Boyle, global direct-to-consumer co-president at Fanatics Commerce. “With the Warriors’ resurgence this year and Steph on the cusp of history, it’s no surprise his jersey sales are more than double what they were at this point last season with orders made by fans in over 100 countries. Should he break the 3-point record tonight, Fanatics will be ready to release a variety of commemorative apparel and memorabilia products in real-time to mark the incredible milestone.”

While now is high time for Curry and the Dubs, the past is already being celebrated. Yes, despite being an active All-Star and MVP candidate, reproduced product from earlier in Steph’s career already exists.

Currently, “We Believe” era throwback jerseys made by Mitchell & Ness are sold in Navy, White, and Orange iterations with swingman and authentic versions available. In addition, Nike has already leaned into No. 30’s accolades and accomplishments by bringing out tonal MVP styles and a graphic Select Series swingman.

And not only is the Curry jersey catalog deep — it’s growing, spreading, and even spawning reproductions.

When considering game-changing peers like Allen Iverson and Michael Jordan, there’s rationale to believe that Steph Curry jerseys will remain as hot sellers long after he retires and gets himself enshrined at Springfield.

Game-worn styles endorsed by Iverson and MJ remain retro favorites for Mitchell & Ness year in and year out. Additionally, popular players from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s have seen their threads remixed through alternate and lifestyle lens never seen in the time of their play. Because of this, there’s good reason to believe that the well of Curry jerseys in retirement will not only be drawn from, it will be purified and revived with new flavor.

Stephen Curry signs autographs before a game at Oracle Arena in 2016 (Scott Strazzante/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

The 2013-14 NBA season saw Curry crack the top five in jersey sales for the first time in his career, ascending to the No. 1 spot over the course of the 2015-16 season and remaining atop the charts through the 2017-18 season. Despite dueling with injuries in recent years, Curry has kept his spot as a top-10 seller in the league, recently ranked as No. 2 in the young 2021-22 season, only surpassed by LeBron (who notably changed his number before the season.)

Just as the timing proved perfect for Steph Curry to change the course of basketball stylistically, it appears the legacy of Curry’s brilliance on the court will live beyond just deep 3s through a myriad of merch with unique staying power.

By becoming a breakout star for a storied franchise over the course of two NBA apparel endorsement deals, Curry has had a chance to elevate the best jerseys in Warriors franchise history further while introducing new styles with true authority.

This all plays a part in the volume scorer not only being able to fill up the stat sheet, but outfit a flock of fans from the Bay Area to Barclays and from Barcelona to Beijing.

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