Golden State Warriors 2017 Finals MVP Kevin Durant was a guest on the Bill Simmons podcast. During their lengthy discussion, KD opened up about several topics, including his thoughts on why the best DMV high school area hoops players don’t stay home and play college ball at Maryland. KD believes it’s an Under Armour thing, saying:
I think a lot of kids, to be honest, they don’t choose Maryland unless they play in an Under Armour system coming up. Shoe companies have a real, real, big influence on where these kids go. Nobody wants to play in Under Armours, I’m sorry. Like the top kids don’t, because they all play in Nike. Everybody knows that, they just don’t want to say anything.
Interesting take from KD. Now, let’s of course remember that KD is a NIKE athlete and their #2 basketball guy behind LeBron. This could just be shilling for the brand that pays him handsomely. But he does have a point.
Nike is the established brand in the NBA. The Oregon shoe giant has its tentacles in every level of basketball worldwide. Young kids coming up dreaming of playing in the NBA mimic everything their favorite players do. Most kids’ favorite players are Nike guys, those are just the facts. Durant did say if the kids play in a Under Armour system coming up, the likelihood of playing at Maryland is greater. Plus with the emergence of Steph Curry as a superstar over the past few years, it will certainly aid in Under Armour’s gain and hopefully help UA schools land more top recruits. But ultimately, Nike is king and will be for the foreseeable future.