Few people have watched Stephen Curry put together his MVP campaign while leading the Warriors to the NBA's best record with more interest than his younger brother, Seth Curry, a former Duke Blue Devil and now a member of the D-League's Erie BayHawks.
Seth recently spoke with B/R and offered his insights about what the experience of watching Stephen Curry this season and in the playoffs has been like. Curry's comments are presented from his perspective and edited for clarity and length.
It's kind of hard to put everything he's doing in perspective. Steph is my brother. I've been with him my whole life. I remember at the beginning of this year he was telling me, "This is going to be my best season ever." Even before the season started. I was like (laughs), "All right." It was hard to believe he could get better than he's been over the years. But he's backed that up all year. Obviously, this has been his best year.
One big thing for me was being in New Orleans for his playoff games against the Pelicans. Making that shot to send Game 3 into overtime was kind of surreal. It seemed impossible for him to get it off, especially with Anthony Davis and somebody else running at him. I was surprised he got it over AD's hand. To see it go in like that, and obviously he was fouled, too…it was crazy to see. And that's on the biggest stage. It was great to witness firsthand.
I don't think I'd ever seen him play on the road in the NBA. To see that kind of star status and recognition from the opposing fans was crazy. They obviously don't like him, but they have that respect for him. I'd go to games with my dad, and an Allen Iverson or a Vince Carter would come into town, somebody like that, [and get that treatment]—that's kind of the level he's reached. It's crazy to see him like that.
His success doesn't change the conversation between us at all. He's the exact same person he was in high school. He's a low-key guy and wants to stay out of the spotlight. When we go out, people want to take pictures no matter where he is. Non-basketball fans know who he is with the commercials and stuff he's doing off the court. That's great to see, but you can tell that's not really what he's about. He just likes hanging out with his family and friends.
When we're off the court, we talk about stuff other than basketball. We probably talk basketball 25 percent of the time. [But usually] it's all about other things. Especially now when he's in the playoffs and in the mix of all these pressure-filled games, he wants to get away from that and be with the family. That's the biggest thing: helping his mind get away from the stuff he does every day.
One of the main things we do is make fun of his commercials. The spray-on Degree commercial. You know how he's in the locker room with his shirt off? We've got plenty of ammo to get him with that one. Then there's the Under Armour one.
The funny thing I always say is (feigns a British accent), "William Shakespeare...." For the first month, I hit him with that every time: "William Shakespeare...." It was always funny.
Steph's kind of a fun, goofy guy off the court, but even on the court, while he's as competitive as anybody in the league, he's having fun. He's so comfortable shooting the ball and turning before it goes in—he's not doing that in a cocky way to show up the opponent. He's just out there having fun, and he's just looking to get his teammates going.
I can tell just by watching, having worked out with him so much, before he lets it go if he's comfortable and the shot is going to go in or not. Other than that he's pretty even-keeled. He plays the same way whether he's playing bad or good at the moment. He's just as confident and doesn't give off as many bad emotions.
He had to bring his teammates along in believing they could win. He's done that his whole life. If he didn't play well at Davidson, his team wasn't going to win. So having that pressure to perform, I don't think it's too different. The Warriors are expected to win and the whole team has to play well for that to happen, but he's just going about his business. Obviously, he was the underdog at Davidson, but he had to perform, and that's the same situation he's in now.
I was talking to one of my friends the other day, about how if Steph wins the MVP, that takes him into the chance to be in the Hall of Fame. They have a chance to win the championship, too. Not a lot of point guards have done that in the NBA.
We couldn't see any of this coming. You can't prepare for it. It's just being raised the right way, having the right morals. Our parents, if we were famous or whatever, taught us to know what we have around us. Growing up in an NBA family with my dad and kind of having that kind of fame, to a smaller degree, kind of trained us for knowing which people are around for the right reasons, so what Steph has been doing recently isn't completely new. It's what my sister and mom and I have been trained for our whole lives. We have a small family circle and I think that's the best thing. It makes it a lot easier.
His success is beneficial to me. People could probably look at more attention on me with what he's done and what he did in college and me coming up after him as a negative. But just having him as somebody to compete against my whole life and work out with in the summer and see how he does it and gets better every year, that's all beneficial. I'm not really at the point of looking ahead and comparing myself to what he's doing or what he did and competing with him. Even before all this, I'd always been told to run my own race and not try to be what my father was or what Stephen is. "Be my own person and be the best me I can be." I don't measure myself up to what Stephen has done or what he's doing. That makes it easy on me. I just go out and try to maximize what I do.
The biggest thing Steph worked on over the summer is different ways to finish craftily around the basket. He obviously is not going to finish physically by jumping over a guy or bodying a big guy at the rim. He's got to find different ways to shoot over the top and shoot quickly before they can get a hand up. Those are the things he worked on over the summer.
Trainers in Charlotte and wherever we worked out would find different ways to get him to take shots you don't ever really try every single day. Not just a regular layup. Have you seen his little underhanded flip shot he's been doing? And different fakes around the basket and that floater? He just had to have the repetition of trying different crafty shots you don't really see from any other players around the league. In non-contact drills they'd use brooms or pads at the rim. But toward the end of the workout we'd play one-on-one, and that's where he'd try to implement the moves against actual live defenses.
You can work on those shots, but then you have to have the guts to actually try them in a game, and he's never had a problem with that. He's never had a problem being creative with passes or different kinds of shots.
I can't explain why he doesn't have any ankle problems anymore. He and Under Armour worked on it in the summer to find the best shoe for him. He's got some kind of ankle braces he's wearing, and he's put in the work over the summer to rehab and get 'em as strong as he can. I know the time when he was having those problems was rough on everybody because of how much it bothered him those two years. You were walking on eggshells working out with him. You didn't want to play one-on-one with him too much because you knew at any moment he could get hurt. That was kind of an awkward two years, but finally that's over.
I'm kind of in shock and as amazed by some of his plays as anybody else. Many times, in the workouts he can't make different types of shots. He's trying different shots but not making a high percentage of them. There's something about game-time situations where because he's not thinking about making a shot it just comes naturally, and he's doing what he has to do to get the shot up. The adrenaline or the extra focus of game time helps him make it. Those little flare shots he's kind of trademarked throughout the year, he doesn't make them in workouts either.
For him, he's got that mindset, and he's had it his whole life, that if he makes one shot he feels like a heat check is coming. He makes one shot and he thinks he's hot. At Oracle you can feel that buzz, too, when people know he's about to do something. That's where the highlight plays come into effect. You see him get the rebound and he's dribbling up the court, he kind of has a different energy to him. You can tell a crazy pass or a crazy play is coming.
B/R Senior Writer Ric Bucher interviewed and presented Seth Curry's thoughts for this story.