Steph Curry DANCIN’! ??
— NBA (@NBA) May 21, 2018
In the second game of the NBA’s Western Conference Finals Steph Curry shot a woeful 1-for-8 on 3-pointers as the NBA’s reigning champions, the Golden State Warriors, were embarrassed by the Houston Rockets in a blowout loss.
Out came the headlines. The negative feedback. The 24-hour
opinion news cycle. “What’s going on with Stephen Curry?” asked The Sporting News. “The Warriors Can’t Wait on Stephen Curry Any Longer,” The Mercury News reminded Bay Area basketball fans. Sports Twitter lit up – poking at the two-time NBA MVP, as those who have likely never stepped on the floor themselves but can certainly come up with 280 insulting characters are wont to do.
What about Curry? Well – he showed up for work the next day and led the Warriors to a resounding 40+ point win, shimmying his way to 35 points in 34 minutes. At times his movements were so fluid, he was so locked in, that it looked like he was being controlled by a joystick in an Oakland area arcade.
Impressive? Sure. Surprising? Not really. This is, after all, one of the NBA’s greatest ever shooters. But it’s what Curry said after the game, not what he did during it, that really resonated with me. In his post game press conference, Curry was asked about his struggles entering the game. His response was as smooth as his jump shot.
“I’ve just been talking to myself. You have to be your biggest fan sometimes.”
Curry celebrated his made baskets with glee. A shimmy dance here. A not safe for work “This is my fu–ing house,” there. It wasn’t arrogant. It wasn’t mean-spirited. He wasn’t bragging. Or seeking attention. He was enjoying himself. Enjoying his accomplishments.
Sometimes you just have to be your own biggest fan. It’s easier to do that when you’re on a winning streak, when you’ve got what they call in basketball, “the hot hand.” When you’re in the zone. It’s a bit harder to do after you’ve gone 1-for-8 at the office, and those around you are judging you.
“I’ve just been talking to myself,” Curry said. A man with seemingly one of the best support systems in the world – experienced coaches, millions of fans, superstar teammates, brilliant agents, savvy managers, and an adorable family. He didn’t rely on them. He talked to himself.
The rest of us? We’re normals. Mere mortals. Perhaps we’re not fortunate enough to be surrounded by world class coaches, managers, or teammates. That makes our task simpler: We’ve got no excuse but to be our own biggest fans.