Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Interview With Kemba Walker, Under Armour Exec

Yesterday, we broke the story that Under Armour had signed a multi-year deal with NBA Draft pick Kemba Walker.

Today, we sat down with Walker and Matt Mirchin, Under Armour's senior vice president of sports marketing , to talk about the deal.

Darren: Why did you go to Under Armour?

Kemba: I think they offered me more than anyone else did. They gave a great presentation to me.

Darren: When did Under Armour become cool in your circle?

Kemba: I actually just found out about Under Armour last year. A lot of people, especially females, were wearing it on campus.

Darren: What do you know about the NBA lockout?

Kemba: I don't know much. I'm just waiting for them to tell me when the season starts.

Darren: What has Under Armour told you about marketing you during the lockout?

Kemba: They said I would still be in ads, which is good, since I'm not sure other shoe companies are doing that.

Darren: The owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, who you will now play for, is Michael Jordan. You think he's mad that you didn't sign with Jordan?

Kemba: Nah, I think we're good.

Darren: Matt, you've really barely scratched the surface on the basketball shoe market, how would you assess your progress?

Mirchin: Well, we've been in the game for a while. For four years, we've been seeding our basketball shoes through the grassroots channel, in college and on marquee NBA players.

Darren: Plans of using Kemba during the lockout?

Mirchin: He'll be part of our advertising, along with Brandon Jennings. We're still going to release shoes and go ahead with our plan of having a full speed ahead campaign.

Darren: Will there be a signature shoe for Kemba?

Mirchin: Right now, we're going to build custom shoes for Kemba, but obviously at the appropriate time, we could start thinking about a signature shoe.

Darren: You still have a very small piece of the marketplace, but you just got into the space last year. How long should it be until we can fairly judge your progress in basketball shoes?

We going to be much louder over the next three years. In order to be successful in footwear you need to have success in basketball, and we know that. In order to grow, we're going to have to take share from those other guys (Nikeowns 91 percent of the basketball shoe market ) or take a bigger piece of a bigger pie by growing the entire category.

Questions?  Comments?