MANILA, Philippines – Stephen Curry knows it has been a tough season for the new-look Golden State Warriors, noting team communication isn’t exactly there yet.
The NBA superstar admits having a hard time communicating with his teammates, but points out the Warriors are in a “very unique situation.”
“We’re so new to each other,” Curry said of the Warriors, who turned from champions to cellar-dwellers following injuries and the departure of key players.
“So many new faces that this year was always about trying to get to know each other, it was a ‘bridge year,’ trying to get back on top.”
The two-time league MVP, who has been with the Warriors for more than 10 years, powered the squad to 5 straight NBA finals appearances from 2015 to 2019 that resulted in 3 Larry O’ Brien championship trophies.
“I’m so used to having that drive to the practice facility, and the 4 to 5 to 6 hours we’re at the gym, where it’s just kind of natural conversation, and you start to get to know people over time, because you really can’t force that stuff. And that’s kinda taken away. It’s been difficult,” said Curry.
“That’s been eye-opening to me is just how important those relationships are to what we do on the court. It’s not just about putting talent together. It’s about that chemistry and whatnot.”
‘Did I do everything?’
Curry knows that as the team leader, he’s responsible to help the team get it together.
“You don’t have to be anybody but yourself,” Curry said during his interview with Doris Burke in the Jr NBA Leadership Conference on Saturday, May 16.
“There’s a lot of ways that leadership presents itself.”
Curry took Michael Jordan’s leadership, as shown in the documentary series The Last Dance, as an example.
“While watching the MJ documentary, you see how he showed up every single day committed to winning, which is important, and he has a certain style that he’s comfortable with,” he added.
Curry said it’s important to discover a comfortable and effective leadership style.
“The biggest thing is you have to be able to look yourself in the mirror every day and say ‘Did I do everything I could to make everybody better around me?’” he shared.
“That doesn’t mean it’s something tangible, it’s just a feeling that you have. You just keep adding dominoes to the stack in terms of how a leader should show up every single day. Know who you are and lean into that.”
The 32-year-old guard, who’s now the oldest in the roster, also discussed his own way of leading that was different compared to other vocal leaders such as Draymond Green.
“As I look back from when I started playing AAU basketball when I was 9 to now, I have the same personality, I love to have fun, I love to smile, I love to crack jokes no matter what room I’m in,” Curry said.
“I’m pretty selective when I do speak. I’m not the loudest guy in the room, so when I say something, hopefully, it commands attention and there’s a presence about it.
“Draymond has a totally different approach in terms of what works for him because of who he is and what his personality’s like and that makes us better as a team,” he added.
Despite his team’s difficulties this season, Curry said the Warriors remain in touch through online calls, doing workouts, and talking about personal lives.
“We don’t even talk basketball,” said Curry, who was the first NBA player tested for coronavirus early March.
His result came back negative, but the league eventually got suspended in March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.
Like all the other teams, the Warriors have been trying to stay in shape at home.
“We do some workouts twice a week where everybody can at least be connected on that front and know that we’re doing the same stuff,” said Curry.
More than their struggles, though, the hotshot guard knows the current situation is bigger than basketball.
“I think the biggest message we set, myself, Draymond and Klay (Thompson), was the big picture,” Curry said.
“There’s a lot of things that are way more important in basketball in terms of us getting through this virus and families going through a lot of hardship.” – Rappler.com