Eleven years ago, basketball superstar Stephen “Steph” Curry catapulted himself into the national spotlight. Curry gave a dazzling performance as the sweet-shooting phenom who led Davidson College men’s basketball team to the Elite Eight round of the NCAA March Madness tournament. Since being drafted in June 2009, the 6’ 3” point guard’s never-before-seen basketball style has since revolutionized the game. Ultimately, Curry has caused other franchises to revamp their rosters just to have an opportunity to beat his team, the Golden State Warriors.
However, what truly sets Curry apart from his peers is not just who he is on the hardwood, but also the man he is at home. This past spring, Facebook Watch, Religion of Sports and Curry’s own production company Unanimous Media collaborated to produce Stephen vs The Game, a six-episode original docuseries chronicling the three-time NBA champion’s journey throughout the 2018–2019 season. Directed by Gotham Chopra, the documentary marks the second installment in the Versus series. Last year’s Versusdebut explored the personal motivations driving New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Versus’ second season provides an intimate and unprecedented look into Curry’s daily life, showcasing scenes from his childhood, moments spent with his family, testimonials about his faith and footage with his team. Collectively, the six episodes paint a detailed portrait about who the man commonly referred to as Steph really is.
After taking a look at the episodes, Blavity connected with Curry to discover more about the person who dons jersey number 30.
Blavity: What do you hope people get out of this show?
Steph Curry: This is a great opportunity to open the veil a little bit and take an in-depth look [at] what makes me who I am from day one to now, and all the things and people that are really important to me. The overall things dealing with criticism, your work ethic, your sense of perspective and faith, in terms of finding something bigger than yourself that can motivate you and that you can tap into. But also, how we deal with the chaos around us.
The biggest part I’ve learned about myself through filming this and looking back on this last year and a half, is that life is crazy — especially in this NBA world where everything you do, every move you make, every word you say is either praised or scrutinized. It’s given me an appreciation for the experiences I’ve been able to go through and the things I’ve been able to accomplish on the court. Hearing me talk about it over the course of a year and a half, it actually helps me keep the right perspective and the right lens on things, so I don’t take all that stuff too seriously on the court. It’s been an amazing journey for my family and me.
Blavity: How do you handle setbacks in big games? Do you have self-exercises or things that you look forward to off the court to help you with anything you face on the court?
Curry: You take each thing as it happens. As long as I’m grounded in my family and in my faith — and that’s the most consistent thing in my life — it makes it much easier to deal with the ups and downs. The hurdles that you go through from a career perspective, in terms of basketball, like dealing with injuries and losses.
I’m the type of guy that tries not to bring that stuff home with me and let that affect the house or how my family interacts with me. That helps keep that consistency during the ups and downs and allows me to enjoy my kids, enjoy life with my wife and my extended family that is so important and has supported me. I try not to whittle my success down to, ‘I’m only happy when we win and I’m healthy and playing well’ to being depressed and down when we’re losing — that can’t be the vibe. As Ayesha and I like to say, “Protect the peace.” That’s the key.
Blavity: Why do you find yourself using social media to support communities in need? What do you feel is the value in using social media to show your community advocacy?
Curry: That’s all about perspective. It’s a privilege to play basketball for a living, make the money that we do and have the exposure and fan base. Everybody does it differently, but I’m proud to say I’m in a league where there are countless guys doing amazing stuff in their communities, empowering people, speaking for people who can’t speak for themselves and truly making a difference in their own unique ways.
It’s been ingrained in me since I was a kid, in terms of my parents making that a priority back in Charlotte where we were. Even if it was a simple gesture or something really big in terms of giving back and doing something to change somebody’s life, I’ve always had that example for me. That will never change. We have access to so many different resources and ways to help — I think it’s important to do that.
Blavity: Is there a message you have for how Black millennials can also make a difference — whether it be through social media or advocacy?
Curry: Don’t be afraid to say what you need to say and be bold about it. In my experiences, the reactions are going to be way more positive than negative, although there will be people coming at you, trying to break you down and poke holes in whatever work you’re trying to do. Just know the positives outweigh the negatives in all those types of situations when you have a message, a platform and opinion about the work you’re doing to impact the community. And make people aware; if you don’t say anything, nobody is going to know.
Blavity: What’s one big goal you hope to achieve by the time you hit 35?
Curry: At 35, I’ll still be in my prime on the court. I want to have three more championships and the most successful production company in the world. By the time I’m 35, I’ll have an 11-year old, eight-year-old and a five-year-old. So I hope that they are on the straight and narrow, in terms of being truly special, powerful kids doing amazing things, even at that age. As a parent, that’s a goal of mine.
Blavity: What are the biggest challenges you face, being an NBA player, father and husband? How do you prioritize your time to make sure all your personal and family needs are met?
Curry: That’s a learning curve, in terms of something that Ayesha and me really struggle with, to be honest. Obviously, I have a day job that requires countless hours and road trips, so it becomes hard to build in time for family. On top of that, there are all the different things I do off the court that are fun and impactful. At the end of the day, the most important thing is your family. For us, we subscribe to “quality over quantity,” in terms of the time I spend with my family. When I’m home, I’m present and enjoying that one-on-one time with my kids and family while eliminating as many distractions as possible.
Blavity: Whether it’s in the home or in your profession, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on leadership? Where or who did you learn it from?
Curry: It would be my college coach Bob McKillop. I could talk about him for days. In terms of being authentic, honest and truthful in how you lead, what you expect and how you keep people accountable for their responsibilities, he was always that. He coached and led the man and not just the basketball player. I learned so much about little things that related to basketball and also life. I got one of them tattooed on my wrist, as a reminder of straightforward principles that anyone can subscribe to, in terms of how they treat people and work on a team. “Trust,” “commitment” and “care” were the three words he lived by, and taught the entire person how to handle one’s self [and] be consistent with that message. Whether things are going well or not, you can’t change who you are as a leader or change your voice. You have to be consistent through all of that.
The biggest thing for me was setting a vision. Speaking a vision into existence was something he did countless times. He gave us something to work toward, to not cut corners to get there.
Blavity: You being yourself ended up influencing the game on a large scale. Are there more changes you’d like to see in regards to how the game should be played?
Curry: I think it’s good right now. There’s so much talent. Obviously, there’s guys shooting threes all over the court and I’m pretty sure I have something to do with that. In terms of how the game is played and how skilled it is, right now it’s in a very good place. People are talking about three point lines, high schoolers getting back in the draft — those [changes] all might happen. In terms of the way the game is played, how fast paced it is, how intense it is, how skilled you need to be to play at this level, I think it’s in a great place, for sure.
Blavity: You’re both in your prime. Who wins in a three-point contest; you or your father Dell?
Curry: Me, for sure.
Blavity: It wouldn’t even be close?
Curry: No, it would be close. But I’d win.