Wardell Stephen Curry, a three-time NBA champion and the first-ever unanimous MVP in the league, had a career that got off to a rocky start. Curry was the seventh pick in the 2009 NBA Rookie Draft and was selected after players like Ricky Rubio and Johnny Flynn, mainly due to concerns around his size and the position he would eventually play in the NBA.
Steph was brilliant in his first year, dazzling opponents and fans with his tight handle and ability to pull up for quick release threes, simply a joy to watch. However, despite his stellar play, Steph struggled to stay on the court due to recurring ankle issues, which kept him off the court and eventually took away his initial Nike sponsorship.
Through immense hard work and dedication, Steph managed his ankle issues and quickly became one of the premier stars in the league. Today, Curry is considered the greatest shooter this game has ever seen, and despite the existence of guys like Ray Allen and Reggie Miller, nobody seems to dispute this anymore. Steph’s pure shooting stroke and joyful demeanor made him one of the NBA’s biggest stars, but according to former teammate Andre Iguodala, Chef Curry is a special kind of superstar.
“Every superstar has some quirks, like ‘I need 6 red skittles in my locker before every game,’ or ‘I need 4 pairs of shoes.‘ Steph is like, ‘I’m one of the guys. I don’t need special treatment.’“Andre Iguodala, The Old Man & the Three Podcast
Iggy then cites a time where DeMarcus Cousins, a former Warrior, was amazed by Steph’s low maintenance character. We always knew that Steph was a fun, low-key guy, but to know that he has no odd quirks is still surprising. No wonder those teams had so much fun destroying opponents on the court back in 2016 because everybody must have felt like equals because their star set the example.
This news of Steph’s behavior is refreshing in the age of social media and player entitlement. Not to say that having a few special requests makes you diva, but not having them makes Steph all the more admirable. Sometimes the team element of the game is forgotten, as there are heroes and scapegoats that make headlines daily as a product of NBA news. In reality, basketball is a team game, and no one person should be blamed for losses nor credited for wins. Apparently, there is another special guard who has this same kind of attitude towards the game.
“The only guy I have ever played with who is like that is Luka. He’s a special guy. Of course as a basketball player he is super special, but as a dude, he’s a great guy.”JJ Redick, The Old Man & the Three
Luka having a Steph-like demeanor will probably surprise some, as this year, numerous headlines of his complaining to refs being an issue and behavior towards other Mavericks organization members have surfaced. However, Luka was a professional in Europe many years before he came to the NBA. There, he was constantly in the presence of older professionals, who knew how to carry themselves and focused on building a winning basketball culture with Real Madrid.
It seems as if Luka has tried to do the same with the Mavericks, which, if you are Dallas’ management, you must be excited about. Luka’s development as a leader might be the remaining puzzle piece to completing his game. He has every offensive weapon possible and is willing to set teammates up and put them in the position to succeed. If he can continue to inspire his teammates to buy-in through a consistent display of great character, plus add a little bit of athleticism and physical conditioning to his repertoire, the Dallas Mavericks might become the next dynasty of the NBA.
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