Under Armour’s last shoe line release tied to a specific player — Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry — drew unexpected attention when one particular color, “Chef,” was mocked across the internet. The white, low-top sneaker looked, many suggested, like something you’d see your grandfather wearing while walking around the mall.

Curry liked them, though, and Under Armour officials think the publicity will only help it grab the attention of basketball players and fans. (Powell said the shoe sold well and did nothing to damage Under Armour’s reputation.)

Shoes represent a minor part of Under Armour’s business (17 percent of all sales, compared to 61 percent in the U.S. for Nike) and an area for expected growth. Ruppe says there’s “white space” available for revolutionizing cleats, but he would know as well as anyone that athletes have more to do with sales than design advances.

Thomas, of course, believes Harper can drive that business. He says cars still pull over outside the school’s field during the offseason to watch if they see someone taking batting practice. Often times it is, in fact, Harper.

“People here, I think what they know about Bryce is that he works hard and he cares,” said Thomas. “Maybe that comes off wrong for some people, but I know what type of kid — I still think of him as a kid — he is and what he stands for. It’s what you want.”

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  • Created Date: 2016-08-10
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