Stephen Curry says superstar athletes never find living in a bubble 'normal'
Warriors superstar discusses what it's like when you spend every moment in the public eye.
Stephen Curry has been famous for a while, but starting about 2015, it became something wholly different. Curry was born the son of an NBA player, and even if Dell Curry was never an All-Star, his childhood life was not like that of other kids. He shot around on NBA courts, for example.
Still, there was a time when Curry could walk down the street and not be accosted, where he had the blessed anonymity that so may celebrities lose when they become famous. That time is gone.
Curry was a superstar as early as 2013 when he led the Warriors to an upset of the third-seeded Nuggets. He reached a new level the year after. But from the 2014-15 season on, when Curry won the first of two MVPs, and then embarked upon a run of 3-point shooting that might legitimately never be topped. His shoe went ballistic, becoming the most popular in the world (before dropping off dramatically in the past year).
He's one of the most popular athletes in the world, especially with kids. With that fame comes a cost, though. Curry's every word, decision and move is under constant examination. From his thrown mouthpieces to his feud with the president, Curry lives in a bubble like few others.
When his coach, Steve Kerr, apologized last week for using a certain profanity in cursing an official, Curry commented that having your every word caught on camera was part of the "give and take" of being in professional sports. I asked Curry in his pregame availability with media before the Warriors' win over Denver if he had ever become accustomed to living life in a bubble.
"I don't think it's anything you ever find normal on a day-to-day basis," Curry said, "but you find ways to cope with it. You manufacture some sort of privacy outside of the basketball arena. Because if you're not on camera you come across fans all across your daily life, you're going out doing stuff, you're going out to eat, you're going to the mall, whatever the case may be.
"You find different ways to anticipate that, and show your personality in those situations. It's a pretty cool interaction between you and the fans, but you also want to have some sense of normalcy and some sense of privacy. It's hard nowadays."
Curry said that the hardest part is how his basketball life can impact his family, which is why he tries to leave the game at the door, so to speak.
"I try not to bring work and basketball home so it's not clogging the air at home," Curry said. "I get enough of that in my day to day. You try to shut off as much as you can. With kids, you want to be able to share what you do, and your passion for it with their kids. But you also have to be mindful of what that can mean for them coming up, with their school and their friends, and the parents of their friends. There's a lot you have to deal with."
There's a tradeoff involved, and it works both ways. Curry puts in the work to be great, and deals with the wear and tear of a professional basketball life. In return, he gets to play the game he loves fo a living, and is paid millions for it. As part of that, he's a star and gets special treatment and opportunities others may not, but the price comes with the loss of day to day privacy and normalcy.
All of this plays into the complicated relationship between players and fans, and part of why players are so protective of their free agency rights. Players understand the public lifestyle that comes with their salaries, but Curry's comments provide insight into how superstar athletes are constantly aware of the bubble they exist in and how they try and compensate for that with their families.
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