When Stephen Curry gets open beyond the three-point arc, time seems to stand still for a second and you can almost feel the collective intake of breath among Golden State’s fans at Oracle Arena. The persistent chatter from even the most bawdy court-side spectators abruptly cuts off as everyone prepares to watch poetry in motion. That’s what Steph’s shooting does for basketball fans. So you can imagine how excited we got when Degree MEN invited us to a special training session with Curry at Basketball City on Pier 36 resting beside the East River in New York City.
It was early this past Tuesday when we arrived, but by the time we hit the court we were totally awake. Joining us in the early group were media members from USA Today, Sports Illustrated and Complex.
We did something similar last year with Carmelo Anthony when we were just as out of shape, but Steph was a tad more hands-on with the basketball instruction this time, which meant we were getting shooting pointers from a player who holds the record for most three-pointers in a single NBA season.
To warm up we went through some jumping jacks and did four sets of something called a “burpie,” which entailed running through a pair of ladders laying on the court before jumping and doing a push-up. Since we’re a smoker, we were pretty wiped out afterwards, which made the suicide sprints preceding the eventual basketball instruction that much more debilitating.
Finally, though, Steph was going to teach us to shoot.
“Wardell” informed us that no matter what shooting form — we cracked wise about Joakim Noah‘s awkward-looking shot at this point — we use, the lower body remains the same: balanced, and with an emphasis on shooting with the legs. Your feet should be no wider than shoulder-length apart, with your right foot a little more extended — we’re right-handed as is Steph, but that’s where any similarities between the two of us come to an abrupt end. If you’re a lefty, you lead with your left foot.
We were told that when we hold the ball in our shooting hand, we should make sure to keep it on our finger-tips, so there’s a little pocket between the ball and our palm. There was more, but you’re probably already bored plodding through this step-by-step instruction. Just know that Steph didn’t need to be patient with us, but he was anyway.
Eventually we went through some shooting drills off the bounce. We did not perform very well, except that we can still dribble a basketball without falling down. All the loud clangs against the iron every time we shot the ball foreshadowed our eventual performance in the three-point shooting contest.