Steph Curry has done the impossible over the last two NBA seasons. Public interest in Curry has reached unprecedented levels due to his helping the Warriors win the team’s first NBA Championship in 40 years, the team accumulating the most regular-season wins in NBA history and Curry being named the back-to-back NBA MVP. Now, as the team prepares for its second straight NBA Finals appearance, Curry is redefining how athletes utilize social media.
Entering the NBA in 2009, Curry was a fast adapter to social media, utilizing various platforms to engage with fans. Today, Curry boasts an impressive 5.21 million followers on Twitter, 5.7 million fans on Facebook and 10.3 million followers on Instagram. Yet, his rising profile has increased the demands on his time, causing Curry to reconsider how he engages with fans on social media.
Recognizing a potential off-court setback, Curry’s former Davidson University basketball teammate, Bryant Barr–who is a Stanford University M.B.A. graduate and former Nike employee–and Brand Jordan’s former senior global design director, Jason Mayden, stepped in.
“Early in his career, Steph was really fantastic about how he used social media to create a very captivated and engaged audience with his followers. He went above and beyond with respect to what most people consider engaging with fans. That activity really started slowing down over the last two or three years. I started having conversations with Steph about why that was. Simply put, he said it was a hassle. There is a lot of noise on traditional social media and he started seeing less marginal benefit in doing one extra thing. It was time consuming and there was so much friction,” Mayden explained.
Recognizing Curry’s growing frustration with social media in the wake of his continued desire to connect with fans, Mayden and Barr sought to create a technological solution to address their friend’s issue. The result was Slyce, a mobile social platform that cuts out social noise for athletes, so that they can engage in direct conversations with fans anytime.
Launched in 2016, Slyce currently boasts a 13-person roster of athlete users, including Curry and other NBA players, along with NFL players and Olympians.
“Slyce will have several phases, but right now, we’re in the mobile driven product phase. The purpose of this phase is to allow athletes to seamlessly engage with fans and publish content to all of their followers,” Barr noted.
In its infancy, Barr and Mayden assert that Slyce has driven positive results for athletes and fans alike, with athlete users engaging with followers on a higher number of social media platforms.
“Using Slyce, athletes are able to push content through the social media ecosystem. The athletes that used our product in its first month had a higher propensity to share from multiple platforms. We’re seeing athletes share to two other platforms beyond Slyce each time they post content to Slyce. What we saw before Slyce, is that these same guys only shared to an average of 1.2 to 1.3 platforms. Because of this, their content is seen by more eyeballs and they’re reaching a larger audience,” Barr discussed.
While comparisons to Curry and Michael Jordan abound, one thing is certain: Due to the advent of social media, Curry has the potential to leverage and engage with fans globally in a way that was impossible for Jordan. For the former Brand Jordan leader, Mayden, this critical aspect drives the need of athletes for technological tools, like Slyce.
“I worked with Michael Jordan and watched his career unfold pre and post-social media. From getting to know Steph, the core difference between pre and post-social media athletes is that so many used to be defined solely by their position on the court versus their values and personality. Due to social media, athletes today are viewed under all lenses and must find ways highlight their positive attributes under each,” Mayden said.
As he has his entire career, Curry is doing things his own way. While shooting three-point shots has allowed him to win on the court, his reliance on distinctive technology may give him a winning advantage amongst fans.