20 years ago in the Philippines, if small basketball players under 10 years of age shot 3-pointers, they were superstars. Nowadays, it is but a common sight for kids, regardless of the positions they play for their teams. Back then, kids who were a bit vertically deficient, would feel a bit inferior to their taller peers playing the game. But Stephen Curry, as many would say, changed the game. He changed players mindset too.
I noticed this when a coach friend invited me to his team practice and observed his players aged 9 to 11. Almost every kid shot 3s during the practice, even those who played big man positions for the team. Some of them even hoisted from a few feet away from the arc, from Curry country as sportscasters would call it.
Witnessing this, I was in awe. As I continued to be involved with the team, I slowly knew the players better and deeper, realzing why they are playing the game and who inspires them too. MJ, Kobe and Lebron still are up the ranks when asked who their favorite player is. But when they shoot 3s, even the shortest of the kids, out loud you would hear “Steph Curry.” And in terms of their attitude, Curry’s work ethic seemed to be imbibed in them.
Stephen Curry brought about a different mindset in today’s basketball world; that if you practice a certain skill and persevere, you can go places, even if you are not that tall. Yes, height is still an advantage in today’s basketball, but the way the game has evolved and the change in the mindset of these young players, the shorter players now have a better chance.
Who better to prove it than the two-time NBA MVP? And for us Filipinos, whose average height is around 5 feet 6-inches, that means a lot. I remember reading the article, “What Stephen Curry Can Teach Us About Creating Successful Habits.” written by Cathryn Lavery in 2015, quoting Alan Stein, as he shared his experience with Steph Curry in the very first Kobe Bryant Nike Skills Academy.
“…Thirty minutes before every single workout, most players were still in their flip flops and would have their headphones and Stephen Curry had already started doing some form shooting. He’d already started taking game shots from game spots in game situations. By the time the workout officially started he’d probably already made 100-150 shots, almost in a full sweat. And then probably the most impressive thing that he did, was as soon as every workout was over, he would not leave the court until he swished five free throws in a row. “
According to Lavery, what Steph Curry exhibits is the formula of creating a good habit process based on goals. From what a player wants to achieve, Lavery says the player must decide on his new habits, plan a time to do each one and track what you’re doing it. For players, doing so would improve any skills then deem necessary, not only their strengths, but also weaknesses.
More than his court prowess, Steph has always credited his stardom to his hard work coupled with the opportunities given to him and also the support of the people around him. More importantly, he gives praises to God who entrusted him his talents to nurture them.
He has shown good character both inside and outside the court, which are very evident in his social media and different accounts from the people in the world of sports. This is something that many young players should imbibe in them.
This I think has changed every young player’s mindset towards how they view the game; moreover, for young Filipino kids who at an early stage may feel a bit disadvantaged in height amongst their peers. Heck, this has been our country’s disadvantage in the sport playing in the international competitions.
But knowing someone with his achievements and seeing the actual fruition of his hardwork, Curry made possible what the older generation of basketball players seem impossible before. This, I think, is going to be the future of Philippine basketball.
In the future, as we further develop these young athletes, we hope to someday become a speck in the eyes of the big competitors in the international level of basketball.