Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
American, 29, Basketball
The brilliant hub of sport’s best team
Key partners: Under Armour, JPMorgan Chase, Degree, Kaiser Permanente, JBL, Brita, Fanatics
2016 ranking: 1
There was, of course, nowhere to go but down for Stephen Curry. There can be no shame in that, given his achievements in 2016: the NBA’s first ever unanimous MVP, its best player by some distance, the talisman for its greatest team – nominally, even if his Golden State Warriors fell at the last hurdle in the Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
2017 was always going to be an ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ season for Curry, though as far as comedowns go, it is hard to think of a better one. Having adjusted his game slightly to accommodate the Warriors’ new superstar addition, Kevin Durant, Curry still led the way for assists and steals for his team and, ultimately, proved the difference in the deciding fifth game of their revenge encounter with the Cavs. He may not be their leading man anymore, but he remains the Warriors’ heartbeat.
“As we continue to find out as the seasons roll on, Curry is not like most other players of his status… Not all players would be able to do what Curry did so readily and so generously, especially when considering how quickly his star was on the rise.” – NBA pundit Brett Pollakoff, writing for Fox Sports.
Curry led this list last year precisely because he is different, more relatable. In a league full of giants and egos, he felt more down to earth, both literally and figuratively; from a marketing perspective, he remains basketball’s most distinctive and engaging figure. 2016 may yet prove his peak, but 2017 was simply further evidence that this era of the NBA belongs to Stephen Curry. AN