Though the Jr. NBA Leadership Conference won’t happen in-person as scheduled, the NBA and WNBA put together an impressive slate of virtual interviews throughout Friday, starting with ESPN broadcaster Doris Burke and two-time MVP Steph Curry. The Jr. NBA seeks to educate kids not only on the skills necessary to be great players, but how to become better leaders and teammates. Curry detailed his own leadership style, as someone who has never been the biggest, most athletic or most aggressive player on his teams.
“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.
But that had to change as he progressed in his career and into the NBA.
“Because I was talented and eventually became the best player on a team, there comes a certain expectation that sometimes you have to be the most vocal and demonstrative,” he added. “You don’t have to be anybody but yourself. I can show it better than I can say it. So I know there’s a consistency to that, but I’m pretty selective when I do speak. I’m not the loudest guy in the room, so hopefully when I do speak, it commands attention and there’s a presence about it.”
The Warriors’ locker room impressively held together well over the course of its four straight Finals appearances, despite the vast differences between Curry’s style, that of Draymond Green, and the magnetic cool of Klay Thompson. Though of course their bond wasn’t easily achieved, it wasn’t until last season that major cracks appeared in Golden State’s infrastructure.
Green is the loudest and most brazen Warrior, but Curry is the MVP. They had to figure out how to balance one another.
“Draymond has a totally different approach in terms of what works for him,” Curry told Burke. “The biggest thing is you have to be able to look yourself in the mirror everyday and say did I do everything I could to make everybody better around me? That doesn’t mean its something tangible, it’s just a feeling that you have. You just keep adding dominoes to the stack in terms of what a leader should be.”
Dating back to his time at Davidson, Curry has always been underestimated based on how he looks, how he plays, and his successful father. Trying to lead in spite of all that was difficult, but it was actually the confidence to not go outside his comfort zone that allowed Curry to earn the respect of his incredible Warriors teammates.