As President Barack Obama’s term in office comes to a close, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has been honoring his friendship with the 44th president. He describes the relationship as “surreal,” noting that his interactions with Obama have been surprisingly normal, lighthearted and genuine.
During golf trips to Martha’s Vineyard in the offseason or low-intensity games of Connect Four at the White House, the two have enjoyed getting to know each other and their families over the course of Obama’s two terms. “It still doesn’t make any sense,” Curry told The Vertical after their first golf trip.
To honor Obama, Curry and his team of designers at Under Armour worked for months early last fall to create two special versions of the Curry 3 sneakers. The shoes, which won’t be released to the public and were made just for Curry and Obama, feature a host of details specific to the former president. While Obama said recently that he no longer plays pickup basketball, Curry gave him a low-top casual version and a mid-cut pair should he feel the urge to play once again.
The presidential seal, which adorned the lectern from which he would address the nation, is stamped on the tongue of each shoe. A year ago, Curry got to stand just behind Obama as he congratulated the Warriors on their 2015 NBA championship during the team’s ceremonial White House visit.
In addition to the seal icon, the commemorative navy, white and red Curry 3s also feature Obama’s flowing signature along the bottom of each shoe, seen underneath clear red rubber. The carbon fiber support pieces on the heel and outsole of the shoe each feature extra detailing as well, with “BACK2BACK” text honoring Obama’s two-term presidency on the bottom, and a subtle star pattern incorporated into the side support pieces inspired by the nation’s flag. Several metallic gold accents can also be found along the shoe, woven into the mesh upper, on the laces and on the stitched No. 44 on the inside of the tongue.
Curry debuted the presidential shoes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 126-91. He scored 20 points and dished 11 assists in the commemorative kicks.
As he entered the arena Monday, Curry also donned a matching custom-made Under Armour T-shirt, featuring a caricature of Obama in the special edition shoes, recreating Oakland native Isaiah Rider’s trademark “East Bay Funk Dunk.”
“He embodies the inspiration, faith & hope Dr. King stood for!” Curry said of Obama on Instagram. “We R Forever Grateful!”
While the special edition shoes may link the two one last time during the close of Obama’s presidency, the duo is expected to stay in contact, sources close to Curry said. Once Obama moves into the next phase of his career, Curry is expected to take an active role in several of the former president’s community-related efforts and programs. The two-time reigning MVP has previously appeared in promotional videos for Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” mentorship program, and for five seasons has donated to anti-malaria efforts in Africa as part of the United Nations Foundation’s “Nothing But Nets” program.
“For the president to love basketball and watch what we do, and be a fan of the game, that means a lot,” Curry told The Vertical.