Given how stupid he makes guys look on the court, one might expect Steph Curry’s off the court demeanor to resemble more of a Nick “Swaggy P” Young than the NFL’s Russell Wilson. In a Warriors jersey, he’s a callous assassin who’ll pull from 30 feet, right after turning your favorite player into the Internet’s latest bitch. In street clothes, however, he’s kind of a choirboy.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching Steph’s ascension in the NBA this season, contrasted with his unassuming personality on social media, it’s the virtue of dissemblance. Being gaudy at one volume and stodgy at another. Some might prefer the word “fake,” but they’ve probably never been the MVP of anything. Steph, of course, was awarded the honor on Monday and gave a 35 minute acceptance speech that spanned everything from his religious faith to his upbringing as the son of an NBA player to the fraternity of the Warriors’ team. Most of the speech was pretty cliché, but off-the-court-Steph makes boring look way cooler than Tim Duncan ever could. I learned a lot by hearing stuff I’d heard hundreds of times before. And yes, I was sober.
Now that that’s over, a few notes:
It’s an incredible journey, a lot has gone into it, a lot of great people—have every bit to do with that trophy as I do. And I’m going to try to get through—obviously the people that are here and the people who are watching that have been extremely significant in my journey. But if obviously I don’t get to you and you had a part in it, please understand that this hasn’t sunk in at all.
Steph averaged just under eight assists per game during the regular season, a stat most NBA pundits concede as most important for point guards. However, the way he sets up his speech—proverbially getting everyone in their spots and not wanting to overlook anyone on the floor—Steph suggests that assists to those who help you are just as important in real life. Tech companies providing catered lunches to employees is an assist; a visible @ instead of a hidden tag for giving photocred on Instagram is an assist; an author byline is an assist, if you push content. It’s not that Steph Curry is the first dude to ever show appreciation and appear selfless, but it does seem that collaboration and curation are the tools of the future. Hell, why wouldn’t a point guard win MVP?
Swag Ezeli…The Black Falcon…Just Holler
It’s no secret that athletes are pretty bad at picking their own nicknames, but it’s worth mentioning that some of the all-time greats have shot bricks on that front. (Floyd Mayweather calls his camp “The Money Team” for God’s sake.) That said, maybe having a corny nickname creates less hype to live up to, which works in favor of your game. “Money Manziel” sounds tight, but we see what happened to him.
I’ve had a handful of people try calling me “I” for short and, well, no. Maybe I should reconsider though; maybe I should embrace the corniness as a boost of confidence while working the content mill. Is that how you get people to retweet your articles?
“My wife—you’re my backbone, you allowed me to do what I do, to focus on basketball and my career, and still have a family. The sacrifices you make are unbelievable.”
This reminded me of Lindsey Vonn’s interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers in which she talks about her relationship with, since then, ex-boyfriend Tiger Woods—specifically the part when Seth asks her if she actually likes golf. She replies, jestingly: “I love golf.”
I’m not sure if Steph’s wife has a passion for basketball outside of his obvious influence, but after hearing the portion of his speech dedicated to her, I realize that it doesn’t really matter. As renowned couples therapist Esther Perel argues, the idea that those we love and marry must stroke our egos is not natural, but a byproduct of consumer culture. Sometimes the coolest people (e.g. writers) are into the weirdest shit and then get all “this isn’t gonna work” when they find out the person they’re into, another cool person, isn’t as excited about having deep conversations about said weird shit. Steph’s words to his wife illustrate that you can vibe with someone on most levels outside your utmost passion and still have them push you to be great.
“You (brother, Seth) would get mad because I was beating you and you’d say I was cheating because I wouldn’t give you a foul call, and you’d take the ball and run in until I said, “All right, you can have that foul, check‑up and top of the key.”
Ah, yes, the romanticized backyard showdowns between two brothers destined to go league. I bet Pau and Marc Gasol have told a similar story in Spanish.
But wait a minute—a foul? Who calls a foul in 1-on-1 ball, especially if you’re the type of brothers to really go at each other? Seems Charmin-y, but that’s coming for a guy who gets mad when he’s less drunk than everyone at a bar and can actually feel people spilling drinks and bumping into him, seemingly setting screens on the semi-sober guy taking up space. Perhaps next time I should ask myself, what would off-the-court-Steph do? Actually, it might be a better question to ask what he’d do on the court, since I already know the answer: Take another shot.