Stephen Curry: Two-time NBA champion, two-time MVP, four-time All-NBA, and maybe the most popular player on the planet right now (if not, certainly top three).
Turning 30 next year, it would be easy for Curry to start thinking about legacy — and he has. He admitted that to Gerald Flores of Complex. But Curry is trying to live in the moment.
“A lot of the younger generation who are watching the game now don’t remember seeing Michael play. Even the younger, younger generation don’t even know who Kobe is on the court,” Curry said. “This is my time to do me and get the most out of the game that I can. It goes with that off-the-court impression of being able to inspire kids to want to be like me when they grow up…That’s the goal for sure and there’s a huge opportunity to make that happen….
“I live in the moment, man. I know none of this is guaranteed. It sounds cliché, but you have to appreciate every day in this business. Injuries can happen. There’s beef and drama all around the NBA that you really can’t foresee down the road. You’ve really just got to enjoy the process. For me, that’s worked. I really don’t get too far ahead of myself. This is a tough industry to navigate through and you kind of have to be in the moment.”
Curry is popular in part because he — and his game — are relatable. We can marvel at LeBron James, but none of us will know what it is like to be born 6’9″ and fast as the wind, with a gift for vision on the court (not that LeBron doesn’t put in the work, he does and then some). We draw inspiration from Jordan and Kobe, but few want to make the sacrifices in the rest of our lives necessary for that level of commitment. But Curry, you can imagine yourself as that guy.
Curry gets that.
“But I think most of it is because the way I play is something that most people can try to emulate. I’m not a high-flyer going above the rim or anything. For the average basketball player, no matter what level you are or what age you are, everybody loves to shoot, and they love to shoot from way out. I’m pretty sure that has a little bit to do with it. How much fun I have on the court when I’m playing is some of it too. I like to play the game with a smile and that’s genuinely how much I appreciate the game.”
That smile, that joy of the sport, that has spread through the culture of the Warriors. It’s why Kevin Durant came west. And it’s why would admire Curry — we as fans constantly say “this is a game, ” and Curry treats it like that. He savors the moments. That is part of why crowds in Asia and America flock to him.