On Tuesday evening, I went to Chaoyang Park to play basketball with my cousin and some friends, all of whom are die-hard NBA fans. Afterwards, we went to grab some food at 金鼎轩 (jin ding xuan), which BTW is an awesome place to get 24-hour dim sum.
Anyway, we were talking about the NBA, and someone was joking about Harden and his 碰瓷 (peng ci) ability. 碰瓷 can be described as a type of widespread fraud in China where someone jumps in front of your car (at slow speeds) and pretends that you injured him, and then he demands compensation from you. I think this is an apt way to describe Harden’s foul-drawing ability haha. Here is an example of 碰瓷.
Someone later mentions that Curry should sign with Nike, then he would get more foul calls. I ask why is that, and he surprisingly says that he doesn’t get calls because he signed with Under Armour (UA)!
Apparently everyone in the group believed this, so I’m not sure if this is a rumor passed around only in China. But I’ve never seen this mentioned as a reason for Curry’s lack of calls on r/nba.
Now there are obviously a lot of factors that dictate who will get superstar calls, but I thought this was an interesting question. I think there’s more to the story, because for one, Harden signed a huge $200 million shoe deal with Adidas and we all know he gets a ton of calls.
Is it possible that because Curry shunned Nike for UA, that this is a way for Nike to get back at him? Granted, it was kind of Nike’s own fault that they lost Curry, but still, one has to wonder if Nike’s pull on the league is really that strong?
I wonder if there is something else going on, for example if Nike and Adidas see UA as the new kid on the block, and is trying to show other players what happens when they sign with UA? Nike makes so much money off of shoes from NBA stars, that they could easily try anything to dissuade other stars from joining an up and coming competitor like UA. This is starting to sound like a crazy conspiracy theory, and it may just be as simple as Steph looking like a normal human being and in the eyes of the NBA refs, not deemed a “real” superstar.
Either way, I’ll end with these two photos. Nike really cares a lot about their shoes. Can you spot the non-Nike endorsed athletes?