Stephen Curry’s teammates admire his humility as a superstar

Jun 6, 2022, 11:26 AM | Updated: 11:30 pm
CORRECTS TO GAME 2 INSTEAD OF GAME 1 - Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole, left, celebrates w...

CORRECTS TO GAME 2 INSTEAD OF GAME 1 - Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole, left, celebrates with guard Stephen Curry, middle, and forward Andrew Wiggins (22) after scoring against the Boston Celtics during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals in San Francisco, Sunday, June 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

(AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

              CORRECTS TO GAME 2 INSTEAD OF GAME 1 - Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, middle left, shoots against Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals in San Francisco, Sunday, June 5, 2022. (Kyle Terada/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              CORRECTS TO GAME 2 INSTEAD OF GAME 1 - Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry applauds during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics in San Francisco, Sunday, June 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
            
              Golden State Warriors guards Gary Payton II, left, and Stephen Curry stand on the court during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics in San Francisco, Sunday, June 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
            
              Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, middle, looks toward the ball between Boston Celtics center Al Horford, left, and guard Derrick White during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals in San Francisco, Sunday, June 5, 2022. (Ezra Shaw/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry, 30, hugs Jordan Poole, 3, after Poole hit a long three point shot at the end of the third quarter of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics in San Francisco, on Sunday, June 5, 2022.  (Carlos Avila Gonzalez/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)
            
              Fans and the Golden State Warriors' bench reacts after Stephen Curry, 30, hit a three point shot during the third quarter of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics in San Francisco, on Sunday, June 5, 2022.  (Carlos Avila Gonzalez/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)
            
              CORRECTS TO GAME 2 INSTEAD OF GAME 1 - Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole, left, celebrates with guard Stephen Curry, middle, and forward Andrew Wiggins (22) after scoring against the Boston Celtics during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals in San Francisco, Sunday, June 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jordan Poole knocked down a buzzer-beater from almost midcourt when Stephen Curry made a point to catch his gaze, and that celebratory stare down told so much about the veteran guard’s pride for his young teammate.

Curry expressed as much joy for Poole hitting the jaw-dropping shot from deep as he would had it been him, the superstar who already has more than his share of 3-pointers from way, way back. That’s Selfless Steph — never one to let his ego get in the way of Golden State’s success.

Curry still did plenty while scoring 29 points to lead the Warriors to a 107-88 Game 2 NBA Finals victory against the Celtics on Sunday night, evening the best-of-seven series at one game apiece as it shifts to Boston for Wednesday’s Game 3.

He applauded Poole for maintaining momentum going into the final period.

“That was obviously a big shot to get the crowd into it,” Curry said. “Put kind of a dagger on that great third quarter that we had.”

The 34-year-old Curry embraces living in a constant state of reflection — not to mention balance as a father of three young children — while also somehow keeping his mind acutely focused on the moment right in front of him.

Thinking back on how far he has come, from being selected as Golden State’s undersized first-round draft pick out of Davidson College in 2009 to all the losing early on in his career and a remarkable rise into one of the NBA’s greatest ever, Curry regularly acknowledges his gratitude.

“I’ve said it many times, Steph reminds me so much of Tim Duncan,” coach Steve Kerr said. “When I played with Timmy, there was the same vibe, this incredible, authentic humility and humor and joy behind the scenes. Then, frankly, a real arrogance on the floor, like ‘I’m the best player out here.’ It’s the perfect kind of leader, someone who you feel comfortable with in the locker room but somebody who you can count on to take you where you need to go on the floor.

“That’s what Steph possesses. It’s a very rare combination of qualities. But it’s what makes him special.”

Curry exhibits that humility in how he goes about his daily business without worrying how many points he scores from night to night, assists he dishes out or arm flexes he gets to perform in the faces of adoring fans who chant “M-V-P!” at every chance.

He is relishing the process of helping the inexperienced Warriors players find their path — for this postseason and well beyond.

Earlier this year, the newly crowned all-time 3-point leader took great delight in the spotlight shining on teammate Andrew Wiggins as he earned his first career All-Star Game selection and was named a Western Conference starter.

That unselfish nature goes back years. When Kevin Durant arrived with huge fanfare in 2016, Curry quietly took a back seat and allowed Durant to find his place with a new team. It was an important gesture that ultimately ended with two championships together and consecutive finals MVP honors for KD.

“It all starts with Steph. When KD was here, our offense still started with Steph,” Draymond Green said. “That’s the way it’s going to be.”

Back on the finals stage for a sixth time in eight years, it’s Curry’s time to carry the Warriors again. But he will be thrilled to see Poole hit another 39-footer, for Kevon Looney to crash the boards to create second chances on the offensive glass, or for Wiggins to take on one of the toughest defensive assignments like guarding Jayson Tatum.

“I remember where I started and just the whole journey. You remind yourself of that every day. The fact that from high school to your first All-Star Game, it’s a journey, and everything that had to go right in your life and on the court for that to happen,” Curry said. “Never let myself get too big-headed on that front. That’s how I live my life. So everything about it in terms of the appreciation and gratitude for everything that happens, all the experiences that you have, everything that you go through, you keep building on that, and usually good things happen because you appreciate everything no matter what happens.”

And if Curry and Co. can win it all once more, he will join a star-studded list of players with two or more MVPs and four titles: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, LeBron James, Magic Johnson and Duncan.

Green has long admired how Curry never lets the attention surrounding his own stardom affect anything this group accomplishes, nor does he seek to be treated any differently. And Curry accepted ownership when things didn’t go right during an NBA-worst 15-50 pandemic-shortened season two years ago.

“He sets a huge tone in that regard because he is never going to approach you, ‘You are supposed to look at me this way,’ which in turn you end up looking at him more that way,” Green said of the respect level. “… I think when your leader and the face of your franchise is that way, you have no choice but to be that way. What’s your ego compared to his? Why would any of us care if you have an ego, and he doesn’t? So I think it definitely sets a tone, not only for players but for everyone in this organization and how everyone operates.”

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Youth team players warm-up ahead of the Black star water polo competition held at the University of...
Associated Press

Ghana water polo grows as sport looks for more diversity

Back at the very beginning, right when the idea of water polo in Ghana started swimming into reality, Asante Prince got out a couple of balls and caps in front of a handful of curious kids. He decided to try a scrimmage, but he had no nets. So they put a soccer bench on each […]
1 day ago
FILE - Austria's Katharina Liensberger speeds down the course during the first run of an alpine ski...
Associated Press

Austrian ski team aims to rediscover its magic at worlds

VIENNA (AP) — Only one skier in the 24-member Austrian squad for the upcoming world championships has won on the Word Cup circuit this season. A star coach left the women’s team mid-January. And “crisis” has become a common word on the ski-mad nation’s sport pages. Has the once dominating “Wunderteam” from Austria lost its […]
1 day ago
FILE - Workers prepare to remove giant Olympic rings from the waterfront area at Odaiba Marine Park...
Associated Press

Tokyo Olympic bribery scandal rolls on; company apologizes

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese company embroiled in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic corruption scandal said Thursday it would strengthen oversight to prevent further wrongdoing. Kadokawa “seriously betrayed public trust,” company president Takeshi Natsuno said. He bowed deeply with two other executives to show remorse in a news conference. Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, the son of the founder, […]
1 day ago
Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) dunks over Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul during the first h...
Associated Press

Murray scores 21 points, Hawks roll past Suns 132-100

PHOENIX (AP) — Trae Young rose up for a 3-pointer in the second half that left his hands way too hard, hurtling toward the basket before slamming off the backboard and through the hoop. Atlanta’s star guard shrugged and ran back down the court with a sheepish grin. Things were going the Hawks way Wednesday […]
1 day ago
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, left, guards Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson, right, during ...
Associated Press

Markkanen, Conley power Jazz to 131-128 win over Raptors

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lauri Markkanen had 28 points and 13 rebounds and Mike Conley added a three-point play and two clutch free throws in the closing minutes to lift the Utah Jazz to a 131-128 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. “Taking my time, having a little more patience, not just […]
1 day ago
Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) looks to pass while defended by Minnesota Timberwolv...
Associated Press

Russell, Edwards help Timberwolves beat Warriors in OT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — D’Angelo Russell scored 14 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, Anthony Edwards took over in overtime after Russell fouled out and the Minnesota Timberwolves outlasted the Golden State Warriors 119-114 on Wednesday night. Russell fouled out after two quick whistles in the first minute of overtime. That set the stage […]
1 day ago
Stephen Curry’s teammates admire his humility as a superstar