NBA MVP and FIBA World Cup gold medal winner Steph Curry loved the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janeiro when he went on a family vacation at 18-years-old and is planning on returning for the 2016 Olympics.
“I’m definitely excited to hopefully be a part of the Olympic team and have that experience, it’d be a dream come true to play in the Olympics and return to Rio,” Curry told the international media, which included TalkBasket on Wednesday night.
“I went to Rio for vacation with my family when I was 18, we spent a week down there and had a great time. To go back and represent my country to play with all of the other great NBA talent that’s going to make up the team USA roster, it’s going to be a lot of fun. And it’ll be here before you know it, that’s the cool part.
“Our season’s pretty long and hopefully we’re in the finals and celebrating another championship. I’ll have three weeks to refresh and get ready for Rio. The culture down there, the sights and just the whole Olympic experience should be a once in a lifetime memory.”
Competing at the Olympic Games would be a first for Curry, who did not compete at the London Games in 2012 after helping the States scoop the 2010 FIBA world championship in Turkey, and then again in Spain last year. The 27-year-old three-point specialist learned a lot in his two spells of international duty, which assisted in him leading the Golden State Warriors to an NBA Championship last year and following it up with a record breaking 16-0 start to the regular season.
“We’re out there executing on the floor and we have a lot of chemistry and trying to take our game to the next level from what we did last year,” he says. “And everybody has a part in it from the coaching staff down to the fifteenth guy on the roster. Everybody’s locked in and focused.
“The system Coach Kerr implemented last year is the thing that we pride ourselves on defensively and offensively. The message is still the same, you know go out and play hard every night and try execute the style that we’ve established and hope that good things happen. And obviously 16-0 is a good sign of that.”
Stephen Curry Q&A (the other questions from the conference call)
There’s already some talk of the Golden State Warriors challenging the record for the longest win streak in NBA history (33 successive wins). Thoughts?
SC: Yeah it’s important to have tangible goals that you can look at and really work for. Obviously for us we do a great job of just staying in the moment; nobody really talked about the 15-0 record until maybe last week when we were around 11 or 12 wins. You can’t really get too far ahead of yourself, there’s so much that can happen in this league over 82 games. The great teams are the ones who can focus on each individual game. We talk about 33, I’ve probably talked about more than anybody else on the team just because I know the history and really how hard it is. We’ve been on two 16 game winning streaks the last two years, those are pretty special feats. For us to have to double that output – we’re gonna play hard and hopefully close in on that record. But it won’t be a disappointing effort if we don’t get there because there’s so many talented teams in this league and for us playing at a high level right now is what we’re worried about and if we close in, get to 29 or 30 games we’ll talk about it a little bit more.
To get to where he is today and what prepared him for the NBA as well as keeping him focused?
(My family) are my support system and the thing that’s the most consistent part of my life. No matter how well I play on the floor I’m making sure they’re taken care of. We’re growing as a family and it’s definitely a huge part of my life. My wife especially obviously with the schedule that we have as NBA players; with the travel and the amount of time that we’re in the gym, having a family is a lot of responsibility on her with two kids now and I appreciate all of the things that she does to allow me to play at a high level every night. But they keep me in perspective, there’s more to life than basketball and to be able to go through this journey with them and share that with them that’s special. And I’m sure that any father in the league would say the same thing. To watch their kids grow up and be able to play the game of basketball to support our families that’s huge. I grew up in an NBA family my dad played 16 years and it’s very very rewarding to see the other side of that process.
My experience at Davidson really prepared me for not only playing in the NBA, but having total control over your play on the court, family life, off court opportunities and branding and stuff like that, time management. Keeping priorities straight. We were challenged at Davidson, it was such a rigorous academic institution as well as trying to be great D1 athletes and have success on the D1 level. Really the amount of work we had to put in at Davidson might be harder than at the NBA level where obviously the only thing I’m worried about on a daily basis is basketball and there’s more free time and with the family and kids it’s a little different now. It’s about keeping priorities straight no matter how successful we are on the court.
Comparisions with Barcelona striker Lionel Messi …
[Laughs] I don’t know. It’s a chicken and egg conversation. We both have a creative style, it’s about a feel when you’re on the pitch or the court. I try to do some fancy things out there with both hands making crossover moves and having a certain creativity to my game and that’s definitely the style that Messi has out there in his matches. I love watching him play, I’m a big fan. And to see just a guy that you never know what he’s gonna do at any particular moment. And that’s why when he’s on TV everybody’s glued in because as soon as he gets a touch of the ball something special could happen. You gotta appreciate that kind of talent.
Last season the Warriors began to rest key players the further they got into the season, Curry on trying to peak at the right moment:
I think we had already eclipsed the 60 win mark by April and were trying to balance staying sharp and building that chemistry as we go through the last few weeks of the season. Even maybe before that. And trying to figure out you know how to handle that. And Coach Kerr did a great job of managing the rotation the whole year. You know, keeping minutes down. We had a lot of games where some of the starters didn’t play fourth quarters, I think I missed 17 last year. We’ll see how it goes. A lot can happen, but if we take care of our business we want to make it as easy as possible on ourselves as we go down the stretch of the season so we’re not fighting for seeding and having to go all out as we gear up for the play-offs. It’s really just about taking advantage of this great start and being as sharp as rested for the first round of the play-offs.
Curry the perfectionist?
SC: I try to be for sure. I know I’m not perfect on the floor. I’m not perfect in life. But I definitely hold myself to a high standard. I joke with a lot of people, sometimes I have really good games statically, a lot of points, a lot of assists, what have you, but the first thing I look at on the stat sheet is my turnovers. So no matter how well I play that’s the first thing I think about is how I can get better. So that’s definitely the perfectionist in me. If I score 50 but I have three turnovers and there’s some bad turnovers I’d be disappointed in myself. I’m always trying to get better. I strive for that perfect game. I haven’t played it yet. But maybe one day I will.
That’s a goal. The formula for it last year starts with winning and hopefully leading my team every single night and playing at a high level. Statically I don’t know what that’ll mean at the end of the season if those numbers will look better than they did last year. I definitely feel like I’m a better player than I was last year. More efficient. We as a team are definitely better, we’re just trying to manage that for 66 more games and the rest of that will take care of itself. It was a dream come true to win one MVP, one championship. But that fuels the fire to do it all over again. And I know the process – you want to stay in the moment as best you can. And that’s how you stay focused. That’s how you stay within yourself. We’ve done a great job of that so far.