Steph Curry

Why winning Olympic gold medal would mean ‘everything' to Steph

NBC Universal, Inc.

LAS VEGAS – Steph Curry is a perfect 17-0 in a Team USA Men’s Basketball jersey. None of those wins have come on the Olympic stage

All were during the FIBA World Cup, with his most recent win wearing red, white and blue being a decade ago. The 36-year-old soon will have a chance to add yet another accolade to his name at the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, and winning gold is more than another box to check for Curry.

“It’s why I'm here,” Curry said Sunday after Team USA’s second day of training camp at UNLV. “It would mean everything. You get to play with this type of talent, the best in our league against the best in the world, continue to show our dominance in Team USA and just the overall experience is something I’ve never had before, so I’m just very excited about just soaking it all in.” 

A couple changes Curry will have to adjust to is the handful of differences between FIBA rules and the NBA. The NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made could have a field day from deep if he can calibrate his shot without any issues. Nobody expects that to be a problem. 

While the NBA’s 3-point line is 23.9 feet from the basket, the Olympic 3-point line will be 22.1 feet away from the hoop. 

Even the ball is softer. 

His Warriors and Team USA coach Steve Kerr hasn’t put any thought into Curry having to modify his game for the Olympics. Curry on a team full of future Hall of Famers is the group’s unanimous best shooter, without hesitation. The always confident Minnesota Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards couldn’t believe the question was asked in the first place. 

“You know who got the best shot,” Edwards said. “Steph Curry.” 

The frustrations of the Warriors missing out on the NBA playoffs this past season haven’t subsided for Curry. But the extra time this offseason has allowed him more time in the gym using a FIBA ball and counting his makes from a closer distance. 

“I’ve had plenty of time since the season to get some reps in with it,” Curry said. “It is an adjustment, but like anything, the more reps you get the more comfortable you get. Thankfully we have another two and a half weeks before the first Olympic game to kind of shake out all those cobwebs and get used to the spacing on the floor, the feel of the ball and all that. 

“None of that will be an excuse. Just play basketball at the end of the day. So taking advantage of this window at training camp is going to be huge.”

Curry has accomplished everything one can in the NBA, and then some. Championship ring? He has four? MVP? He has two. Let’s continue. 

Curry has made the All-NBA team 10 times, as well as being named an All-Star another 10 times. His career has consisted of an All-Star Game MVP, two scoring titles and for being known primarily for his godly shooting ability, Curry even led the league in steals once. 

Stepping on the Olympic stage is different. Though he plays in the greatest basketball league in the world, the game continues growing each and every year, making the talent level globally as close to the United States as it has ever been. 

This year’s version of Team USA includes a total of eight MVPs – four by LeBron James, two by Curry, one by Kevin Durant and one by Joel Embiid. Seven players have won an NBA championship. 

And not one of them believes winning gold in Paris will come sweat-free without any adversity. 

“The competition and the challenge to win is probably going to be as hard as it has ever been,” Curry said. “I think we’re up for it and I’m excited to be part of it, knowing I’ve had Team USA experience in the world championship level, but that was 10 years ago and this is a different level.

“I’m excited for it.” 

So, why now? The answer is simple, and a bit complex. 

Curry wasn’t chosen for the team in 2012. In 2016, he wasn’t healthy for the Olympics. Then for the 2020 games, which were pushed back to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Curry chose not to play. 

There are two years left on his Warriors contract. Slowing him down has been a dare Curry happily has invited. But Curry also is realistic. This summer isn’t only his first Olympics, it’s likely his last chance to call himself an Olympian and wear gold around his neck.

“I’m feeling as healthy as I’ve ever been,” Curry says. “We didn’t make the playoffs, so I had two months to get ready and it’s probably realistically my last opportunity to even have a chance to play. 

“It all kind of aligned the right way. I hope it continues to align with a gold medal.” 

Despite the outcries from the outside, Curry never needed to place a Finals MVP on his trophy case. Winning an Olympic goal isn’t required for his unmatched résumé. But just as he bellowed in Boston upon winning his fourth championship, all Curry can cry out loud if he gets the job done is the same message he sent to his doubters two years ago.

What are they gonna say now?!? Zip. Nada. Zilch.

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