Under Armour (NYSE:UA) is placing a bet on "the greatest heavyweight of all-time." According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the Baltimore-based apparel company will add Muhammad Ali to its collection of endorsers, and plans to create a lifestyle clothing line around the boxing legend.
“He’s an iconic hero from the past and a true innovator,” Glenn Sibert, the company's vice president of men’s, outdoors and team sports told Rovell. “We wondered what Ali would have been like if he had a brand like ours when he was getting started and how great it could have been. That has been the mentality of our design team throughout the process.”
The company announced his addition with a short 15-second video playing on the nostalgia of Ali’s amazing career. It features clips of him in fights and training alone and dancing around the ring.
Ali's name continues to conjure memories from a golden era of heavyweight boxing. He went 56-5 in his career and fought in countless memorable bouts including square-offs against Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier and George Foreman. Sports Illustrated named the former heavyweight champion the Sportsman of the Century in 1999. The brash Ali was as recognized for his attitude and activism as he was for boxing and was briefly blackballed from the sport after refusing to serve in the Vietnam War as a conscientious objector.
Ali, who turned 73 last month, previously had a promotional deal with Adidas. The Louisville native last fought in 1981 at age 40. In 1984, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. In January, he was hospitalized with a urinary tract infection.
Under Armour has experienced steady growth over the past few years. The company’s price of shares has steadily ticked upward, trading on Wednesday at around $73 a share after rising from a 52-week low of $45.05 in May.
Founded in 1996, the brand already has major athletes signed to its company, which include Tom Brady, Michael Phelps and Stephen Curry.