What Stephen Curry Taught Us
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
I am a huge college basketball fan. I love everything about the game and it doesn't get any better than March Madness.
In June of 2007 I was hired by Nike to work their summer Skills Academies. The first academy I worked was the Kobe Bryant skills academy. Nike invited the top 20 high school shooting guards in the nation as well as the top seven or eight college shooting guards to serve as counselors. This was the cream of the crop.
There was one college player in particular who turned a lot of heads, especially on the coaching staff. This kid was special. His footwork was perfect. His shooting form was flawless. He moved without the basketball brilliantly, which in today's game is a lost art. His work ethic was tremendous. His focus was unshakable. He was there to improve, not there for free gear or to chill with his homies.
Everything about this kid was classy and professional. He never took plays off and every rep of every drill was done at game speed with utmost intensity. I remember rebounding for him a few times during warm-ups and he would easily knock down 15-20 threes in a row before missing one, and then a new streak would start. He paid attention and followed the warm-ups and agilities with precision. This kid was all business, but you could tell in his eye and his smile that he loved the game.
Who am I talking about?
Davidson's Stephen Curry. On the first day of camp we all wondered who he was. On the last day we all agreed he was going to be a big-time player.
Stephen's magical run through the first three rounds of the 2008 NCAA Tournament--he scored 34.3 points per game as Davidson beat three higher seeds--didn't surprise any of us who worked that camp. Even if he was lightly recruited out of high school, we saw first-hand behind closed doors what this kid could do. We were just waiting for him to do it.
The point is, Stephen Curry stepped up at the end of the season and played better basketball than any other player in the country. He hit big shots and led his team to big victories, none of which was a fluke. Nor was he simply "lucky."
Stephen Curry earned the success he had by dedicating himself the previous offseason to individual self-improvement and player development.
He shot thousands of jumpers every day in the offseason, at game speed with perfect footwork. When the lights came on in March, making shots was a habit. Not an accident.