Curry, Irving trips illustrate importance of Asia market for Under Armour, Nike

NBA star Stephen Curry was in Beijing on July 22 and 23. Rival star Kyrie Irving was in the China capital the next day, according to their schedules.

The timing was coincidental but their trips shared a common goal — to promote basketball and their respective sports brands in Asia.

Curry, whose trip is continuing, is Under Armour’s most important basketball ambassador. This is his third Asian trip for the Baltimore-based apparel and footwear brand. This year’s trip includes Curry’s first-ever stop in South Korea. He is being joined by his brother, Seth Curry, also an Under Armour-signed basketball player.

Irving, representing Nike, was on his first global tour for the brand. On Tuesday he was on the final leg of a journey that included stops in Japan, Taiwan and China. His travel came amid speculation about his relationship with the Cleveland Cavaliers following reports that he’d like to be traded.

Under Armour and Nike both see room for international growth.

International sales of Under Armour products account for about 15 percent of the company's business but grew more than 60 percent last year. Asia-Pacific revenues also increased 60 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to the company.

Curry's trip has included basketball shooting contests, opera and a demonstration of Taekwondo kicks.

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