The NBA Finals start tonight, and the basketball world is drooling over this dream matchup: LeBron James vs. Stephen Curry.
We also may see some drool coming from the mouths of corporate executives. After all, this is the battle of the MVP's. Ticket prices are selling on the secondary market for the highest price in at least five years.
For those business execs, LeBron vs. Steph really means Nike vs. Under Armour.
Under Armour (NYSE:UA) is hoping Curry can be built into a $1 billion brand, and it introduced its first basketball shoe named after a player earlier this year: the Curry One. Under Armour, even though its stock price has been shooting up, still has a lot of work to do if it wants to catch Nike in the all-important basketball shoe market.
Nike (NYSE:NKE) still dominates, with an astounding 95% market share in the United States. LeBron has been the face of Nike Basketball for more than a decade.
Can Steph Curry be the man who finally turns the tables on Nike when it comes to selling basketball sneakers?
Probably not right away, but an NBA Finals victory would be a good start. Game one is tonight in Oakland.