Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry delighted Chinese fans early this month after he visited the city of Guangzhou as part of his Under Armour marketing tour in Asia. A week after Curry took China by storm, Cleveland Cavaliers legend LeBron James landed on Saturday in the country to boost the sales of his Nike sneakers.
James' Nike vs. Curry's Under Armour
According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, China is the home to the biggest market for the basketball shoe consumers in the world. He said that James is in the country to expand the Nike turf and protect it from the rising popularity of Curry's brand.
Vardo stated that the visit is the NBA Finals MVP's 12th consecutive trip with Nike to China and neighboring Asian nations. He added that the 31-year-old basketball superstar will visit the city of Guangzhou, where his closest rival Curry made an appearance early this month.
The Cavaliers forward will also spend time in Beijing, the nation's capital, to help the Chinese Under-23 National Basketball Team to prepare for the 2019 FIBA World Championships. He will also visit a Nike Active Schools facility.
ESPN reported that Curry participated in a basketball clinic at Guangzhoua University during his visit on Sept. 3. He also had a meet-and-greet event with thousands of fans who were mostly dressed in Warriors jerseys and Under Armour shoes.
The Rivalry of Basketball Shoes
Vardo said that Nike continues to become the leading sneaker seller is the world and James remains the primary driver of the Nike's growth. However, the company is currently facing slight headwinds because of the increasing popularity of Curry's Under Armour shoes.
Per solecollector.com, Curry released two versions of the Curry 2 Under Armour shoe last December and these outsold James' top-selling version of the LeBron 13 weeks before last season's NBA Finals. Footwear News also reported in June that NPD Group sports industry analyst Matt Powell projected James' sneakers to still outsell Curry's Under Armour sneakers this 2016. But Powell added that Curry's shoe sales will be sharp and upward trajectory.
Shoe expert Josh Luber commented that James' shoes registered a rapid decline in resale value and this pulled down the overall demand for his Nike sneakers. He added that this could be blamed to Nike's treatment on James' shoes as an exclusive and premium product, compared to Curry's readily available sneakers.
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