5 Questions With NBA MVP Steph Curry Before The Finals

stephen curry
Stephen Curry

Photo Credit: Courtesy Golden State Warriors

There was a time when you’d never see a yellow and blue Golden State Warriors’ flag, T-shirt or baseball cap in San Francisco. Now that Golden State is in the NBA Finals for the first time in 40 years, Warriors fever has stretched across the Bay. With tip-off for Game 1 against LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers set for June 4 at Oracle Arena, we can’t help but get caught up in the excitement either. How is Warriors superstar Steph Curry, the league’s MVP, handling it all? Read what he had to say on the eve of his first game for the NBA championship.

[Is there] anything you’re going to do to try and combat this unusual circumstance? Within 24 hours the media contingent has quadrupled, and it’s not the kind of thing you have to deal with usually before a game. What do you do to make it more normal?
Obviously you have the same kind of preparation for a series when it comes to answering questions about your preparation, your game plan and all that. There might be more people around and a different kind of routine. But once we leave after practice today, it’s the same kind of vibe. You do whatever you can to get your mind right out. I’m going to get a haircut. I’m going to hang out at the pool at my house, get some sun and get a good night’s rest and be ready for tomorrow.

The other day LeBron mentioned that you and he had some conversations before games about just what it means to be a great player and to carry yourself a certain way. Do you remember these conversations, maybe what he might have said and if you took anything from them?
[The] most memorable conversation I had with him was after I think a game in Cleveland my rookie year, and I think they beat us that night. But he pulled me off the side right before I left the court. He understood the situation I was in. As a rookie, we were not a very good team at the time. I was trying to find my way as a player, and he basically just said the one thing you control is your preparation every single game, how you’re going to find ways to get better and just having tunnel vision. No matter what’s going on around you, you can control your effort every game, your professionalism and just what you do day in and day out to get yourself ready. There is going to be a time when it’s all going to work out because you’ll be ready for that moment. So not to get caught up in the drama of what was going on with my team or the situation, because you’ll hopefully have a long career.

What’s it take to be a great ball handler? And do you consider this a showdown between the top two ball handlers in the league, you against Kyrie Irving? How is your style different?
Obviously, it takes good hand eye coordination. Creativity, to be able to have an imagination about what moves you want to try. You have to have confidence. Because in games you can obviously do drill work and skill work in the off season and even during the season to kind of get your skills right, but if you don’t have confidence when you go out there to execute those moves or try to get from point A to point B, it’s kind of all for nothing.
So he has an explosive ball handling style that keeps you off balance, and all he needs is a quick second to get by you. I try to create just space with my ball handling, whether it’s to shoot or change an angle so I can get around, get into the paint and make a play or something like that. But it’s all just about having a rhythm to your style and just a confidence that no matter what move you try in a game that you can pull it off

At what point did you realize you were famous, and what adjustments did you have to make once you realized you couldn’t live with anonymity?
I have no idea. Kind of like a steady, more you go out, the more you get recognized, more Warrior fans you kind of run into just naturally. I don’t know if there was ever a moment that kind of clicked in, but I try to do normal stuff as much as possible, and there are some things we do differently to kind of hopefully protect our privacy and stuff like that when we’re out and just be able to enjoy yourselves. But it kind of somewhat comes with the territory. And you just kind of hopefully handle it all the right way. I just want to keep my life as normal as possible. Just what I’m interested in and what I do off the court to keep myself sane and just enjoy life.

How has being a father changed you, and how is Riley helping you prepare for this?
She’s breaking down film with me. She’s really she’s my biggest critic at home. No, but being a father kind of gives you something more to play for. I think off the court it just grounds you every day because no matter if I have a good game, bad game, score 40, score 10, I think my daughter’s going to be happy to see me when I get home, and that kind of makes everything all right.