By Guillermo Azabal
Los Angeles, Jul 20 (EFE).- Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry said ahead of the streaming release of a career documentary that the sole reason he continues to play basketball at age 35 is to pursue another NBA title.
“A fifth championship, that’s why you play the game. At this point in your career, that’s really all you’re playing for is to win at the highest level,” said Curry, the face of a dynasty that has won four championships over the past decade, told Efe in an interview.
“Because, one, you know how hard it is to do. And every year, there’s new challenges and a new roster or new obstacles that you have to overcome. So that’s all I’m focused on.”
‘CHIP ON MY SHOULDER’
Curry, the son of 16-year NBA veteran Dell Curry, grew up around basketball, fell in love with the sport at an early age and – like his dad – showed an extraordinary talent for outside shooting as a high-school player.
But his journey to make his own mark was not an easy one because he was seen by coaches and scouts as being too slightly built to compete at the highest level.
“I wasn’t naturally gifted or physically gifted,” Curry said of the obstacles that he faced as a young player and which still drive him to this day – the central theme of the documentary – “Stephen Curry: Underrated” – that has had a limited release in theaters and will premiere on Friday on Apple TV+.
“I still feel like I have that as part of my DNA … a little chip on my shoulder (and) a determination to let my work ethic kind of speak for itself and prepare me for whatever the challenge is ahead, because that’s the only way I was able to have success early.”
A point guard who was passed up by the traditional college basketball powerhouses and even by his father’s alma mater, Virginia Tech, Curry first made a name for himself on the national scene at tiny Davidson College in North Carolina.
Though largely operating out of the spotlight, Curry starting turning heads there and shattering records as a three-point shooter.
He also persistently worked on other areas of his game, becoming an effective, albeit highly underrated, ball-handler and passer.
While at Davidson, he became a household name among basketball fans by scoring 25 or more points in four consecutive games of the 2008 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament and leading Davidson to an improbable berth in the quarterfinals, where they narrowly lost to eventual champion Kansas.
He later entered the NBA in 2009 after being drafted as the seventh overall pick by the Warriors.
Although to this day he is known primarily as an outside shooter and does most of his damage from behind the three-point arc, he has worked relentlessly on his body to be able to withstand the rigors of the NBA and absorb contact from bigger defenders when attacking the rim.
Curry recalled that as part of that transformation process he has learned to focus on what he can control and accept his physical limitations.
“Acknowledging and embracing who I am and accepting who I am and … not comparing myself to anybody else, or not getting wrapped up in trying to be where somebody else is,” he said.
“Running my own race and continuing to just get a little bit better every single day, and for me that’s carried me all the way to this point.”
Curry’s remarkable work ethic led to his making further significant strides in the professional ranks and becoming one of the greatest players of his generation and in the history of the sport.
GREAT INDIVIDUAL AND TEAM SUCCESS
He also was fortunate to land with the Warriors, an organization that had been a laughingstock of the NBA for many years but turned around their fortunes quickly by drafting Curry, his fellow “splash brother” Klay Thompson and defensive lynchpin Draymond Green over a four-year span.
Other key moves were the hiring of Steve Kerr, a former role player for Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls who has expertly steered the Warriors’ ship as head coach for the past decade, and the acquisition via free agency of superstar Kevin Durant (now a member of the Phoenix Suns) in the summer of 2016.
Boasting a sharp-shooting and high-octane offense yet also a highly unselfish and disciplined style of play on both ends of the court, the Warriors won their first NBA title in 2015.
They then captured two more championships in 2017 and 2018 (with Curry and Durant leading the way) and yet another in 2022 (when Curry was named the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals for the first time).
The native of Akron, Ohio, has enjoyed the best of both worlds in the NBA – enviable and record-setting team success (the Warriors’ 73-9 record in 2015-2016 remains the best single-season mark in league history) and a host of individual accolades.
He holds the record for most three-pointers made in a single season (402 in 2015-2016) and in a career (3,390 and counting), is the Warriors’ all-time leading scorer (21,712 points) and was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons.
Even so, Curry says he still has more to accomplish in his career and does not want to pause now to reflect on what he has achieved to date.
“I (value) the championships, the MVPs and all the different honors that have come with success on the court. There’s obviously been failures as well. And I feel like I have a lot more in the tank,” Curry said.
“So the biggest thing is to keep doing what I’m doing and … however people categorize my career when it’s all said and done, or how I reflect on it when I’m done, that’ll be an interesting experience, but for now I’m still trying to write this story.” EFE