FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 7th, 2022
TRANSCRIPT: STEPHEN CURRY PREVIEWS 2022 AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP
American Century Championship
Thursday, July 7, 2022
Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA
Q. You still have got to be feeling pretty high after about three weeks after the NBA championship. How does that feel?
STEPH CURRY: It feels amazing. I definitely haven’t come down from it yet. It’s only been three weeks to today. Amazing. Amazing year for obvious reasons.
And to get back to the mountaintop, get the fourth ring, and do it with a new cast of characters, with our core that’s been together for over 10 years, it’s an amazing thing to think about. I don’t think it really has sunk in yet. It’s nice to come out and see the nation here in Lake Tahoe and play some golf. So I’m excited about it.
Q. What would it feel like for you to win this thing? You’ve got the ability. You’ve been close a few times. What would it mean to you, especially winning a fourth NBA championship three weeks ago?
STEPH CURRY: I think my wife would probably tell you if I came home with that trophy she would know what trophies might need to move out of the way back at home in the office. I hope we can make that decision on Sunday night when I get home.
But I’ve been here, I think, nine or ten times. I enjoy every week. Make it an amazing week with the guys I come up here with. Played well, three times got in the top five. So I know I have it in there.
This year, obviously coming off the finals, running deep into June, we’ll see how the golf game goes. That usually helps with lower expectations, just to go out and play free and just have fun, first and foremost. And if I can find a way to get off to a good start, that’s obviously the best feeling when you can feel like you’re in contention.
You know you can’t win it on the first day, but just try to play well and make things as easy as possible out there.
Q. What’s it like having your dad in your life and, of course, here with you this week, as he’s been throughout your entire life, and what’s it been like for you to be the father that you are? You mean a lot to a lot of people.
STEPH CURRY: It’s special, knowing that my dad, I grew up watching him play in the league. He played for 16 years, and learned how to be a professional, how to develop a work ethic, and then you get to share the experiences outside of the arena, like playing golf together. It’s a game you can play for your whole life.
And we’ve been blessed to have amazing golf experiences. My brother’s here as well. It’s definitely a family affair. And we have a great competition. I wouldn’t even call it friendly. It’s real. Just to be blessed to have that experience. I’ll never take it for granted. And hopefully we’ll add another great week to the list.
Q. I wanted to ask about your Underrated Youth program, kind of the genesis for how that started, and what you thought of the first year of doing it?
STEPH CURRY: We just launched maybe two months ago. I’ve had two regional stops. One in Chicago and one down in Scottsdale area.
And the ability to bring underrepresented communities out to the golf course, there’s so much talent in the youth golf world. Some is unheralded. Some that just needed an opportunity to be on a platform and a stage to showcase their skills.
But golf is such an amazing sport because it’s a conduit to developing true life and work skills that they can carry for the rest of their lives.
We’re thinking big about this. We have five stops this year. Hope to build that to a bigger field next year, both boys and girls. So equity access and opportunity is important to us, bringing these kids to amazing venues and giving them a first-class experience.
And hopefully taking it internationally. We want to be able to provide a platform for kids to pursue the highest levels of golf all while giving them the toolkit to be successful in life. And I think we’re off to an amazing start. There’s been a lot of great feedback. I think the kids are having a great time. They’re giving us great feedback on what they need, what kind of support.
And the experiences they need to get to the next level. So we’re just getting started. This is going to be really big and you know how much I love to play the game of golf but to be able to create an opportunity for the next generation is really important to me.
Q. When you talk about expansion, is that more cities, more tournaments? What’s the vision?
STEPH CURRY: Just reaching more kids and being able to spread our wings internationally. I think the feedback that we’ve gotten is we put on an amazing tournament. We have an amazing staff and volunteers and partners that are behind us. So it’s only going to continue to get bigger.
We want to continue that momentum where here and domestically in the states, Europe, Asia, around the globe, we can reach as many kids as possible. So I like the start we’re off to. Like I said, we’re just literally getting started. Literally like the first or second hole, if you like that terminology.
Q. Congratulations on the ESPYs. I’m curious how that came about. Are you writing your own material? How does it all go, for a busy guy like you?
STEPH CURRY: I’ve been to the ESPYs a bunch of times. And I’ve seen some amazing hosts throughout the years. John, Drake, Peyton Manning, you name it. I actually talked to Peyton about it, just what the experience was like once the opportunity was thrown my way. He said you’ll love it. It’s obviously out of my comfort zone. I’m excited about just the experience and having the mic on that kind of stage.
So everybody be careful, if you want to come to the show, just know you’re liable to catch a couple of strays. But it’s one of those where it never was on my radar as an opportunity or something that I wanted to kind of go after.
But I do appreciate the honor. I do appreciate the stage that it is and respectfully honoring and celebrating amazing athletes from all different sports and all different backgrounds.
I’ll make sure that that’s first and foremost, but you obviously want to have fun. So there’s some good ideas flowing. I wouldn’t say I’m sitting by the computer writing one-liners all day, but definitely it will have my personality, my DNA in all the bits that we do and just the whole night. I’m excited.
Q. You’re known as Chef Curry. Ayesha is known as a good cook. What’s the go-to meal if she’s out for the night?
STEPH CURRY: Five-ingredient pasta, you’re getting that every night. 15 minutes, whip it up. It’s great, but it ain’t nothing fancy. Staying in my lane on that one.
Q. Does the Petty King ever show up on the golf course and if so how?
STEPH CURRY: The only time it’s really come out I think in a Pro-Am like five years ago, one of the fans was on 16. I hit a bunker shot to like 30 feet or something.
And somebody yelled out, “I could have done better.” All right. Well, here’s the club, and gave it to him. He skulled it into the lake. Little moments like that where you just have fun. But trade the Petty King for just hopefully the Burger King, you know?
Q. You told us there was no better feeling than hitting good golf shots. But as we talked about three weeks ago tonight was a pretty special night in your life, and you were obviously very emotional in Boston. Has there been or could there ever be an instance on the golf course that brings you to tears?
STEPH CURRY: Well, I mean, you get the gauntlet of experiences, especially where I’m at in my golf game. I could hit a ball like I did on 16 today, 330, feel like amazing or snap hook one to the driving range on 18 and feel like just trash.
So the full gamut. I don’t know if — there’s no crying in golf, so I’ll try to keep it fun, keep it light. But maybe if I’m holding a trophy you might see a tear.
Q. Wanted to ask you about Charles. That bet’s out there again, top 70. Do you think he can do it this year?
STEPH CURRY: No. (Laughter) hell no. Clip that, send it to him, let him play it on every tee box. There’s no way he’s doing it.
As much faith as Chuck has had in the Warriors and jump-shooting teams winning championships, that’s the least amount of (laughter) — that’s the amount of faith I have in him hitting the top 70.
Q. Wanted to ask you about the family bet. That’s become obviously such a big thing up here every year now. Can you tell us what it is and what the numbers might be involved?
STEPH CURRY: It’s hard with Stableford because you’re trying to handicap it right. We’re all at different levels with where we’re at. Trying to give the right amount of points.
I think I gave my dad ten last year and it came down to the last hole, which was perfect. The way my game was trending and his, according to what he says, I’m going to have to give him a little more this year.
Seth actually played amazing last year for his first time. And I think he’s gotten a little bit better. We’ll make that decision tonight over a glass of wine and make sure everybody’s on the same page about what the bet is this year.
Q. Always involving the lake, I assume?
STEPH CURRY: It is. It’s a tradition. We might have to switch it up. So we’ll see it.
Q. Besides the fact that we’re both 34, does it kind of feel like you’re back in 2018 being a champion again and the crowds are back to normal and the media’s bigger than it’s ever been before?
STEPH CURRY: This is amazing. I remember we were over in that little cutout over there with the makeshift tent and about eight chairs. And everybody handed the mic to each other.
This is amazing, the amount of attention and awareness and the fans out here, the support, the energy. Obviously coming off the pandemic and getting full crowds in here. Like you said, the championship glow that I’m coming in with, it’s special. That’s why I look forward to this week so much, just because I think Tony said it before, the field’s amazing. There’s Vinny, Mardy, great golfers over in the corner. You know you’ve got to play well, but also if you do it’s great. You’ll get that support. Even if you don’t, you’ll have a great time. It’s a can’t-miss week for me.
Q. Question about Patrick Mahomes, who is playing here. I’m curious, when you’ve been able to watch him play football, what type of skills do you see? And do you see him possessing any of the same type of skills you do showing on the football field that you would on the basketball court?
STEPH CURRY: To me, it’s the perfect balance of everything that you can teach in terms of fundamentals and reads and all that type of stuff. I’m not going to sit here and talk football. But the blend of what you can teach and the intangibles, he’s just got such a great feel, great awareness. The flare for the dramatic.
He likes to take chances, all that type of stuff. I love that style. The same kind of way I play. There’s a lot of respect and admiration for what he can do on the field. And I’m sure it goes the same way with what I could do on the court, too.
Q. Education, I talked to Jerome Bettis, both of you went back to school to finish and get your degrees. Round of applause for that. I think that’s incredible. And I just think about all the adults that might be watching who are thinking about going to school or finishing. Or guardians telling their kids, you can play college ball, you can go to the league, but don’t forget about your education. So my question is, was it a promise to yourself or a promise to your family? And then were you finishing your credits during the season? How did it all work?
STEPH CURRY: It started, I went to Davidson for a reason. Obviously to play basketball but to get a great education. As things turned out, leaving after my junior year was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. But I made a promise to my mom and Coach Bob McKillop, that I would finish at some point.
I did a lot of work right after I left school. Obviously 13 years later, finally finished. The motivation was, one, to fulfill that promise, kind of what you said on the message it sends. But my oldest daughter is getting older. I wanted to make sure I didn’t graduate the same year she did. (Laughter) That was it.
Q. The night of the draft was the 50th anniversary for Title IX. You mentioned Riley, raising a daughter, having sisters. What I’ve been learning about Title IX is so much bigger than sports. It’s civil rights as far as women’s equality. But everybody was like, oh, the Warriors won, basketball is over. No, it’s not because we have Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles retiring, and the WNBA is in full swing. I’d love to hear your thoughts on women’s equality and women sports, where we are and where we need to be going.
STEPH CURRY: You have to be living under a rock if you don’t understand how important that mission is and the awareness, like you said, the equality and the right investment in women’s basketball, WNBA, but also in every sport.
My wife and I were blessed to be able to start a scholarship fund at Davidson for women’s athletics outside of basketball, because they have the most scholarship offerings there. But all the other sports were kind of lacking.
So we started a fund there to create more opportunities, especially for young women from underrepresented communities. And the feedback we got about how much just being able to play in high school and college built confidence and belief that you could accomplish anything whether in sports or outside of sports.
There’s so many amazing women in positions of leadership. There needs to be more. And sports is a great conduit to do it. Like you said, Title IX started the wave and we still have a lot of work to do. WNBA is an amazing space. Thoughts and prayers and continued awareness around the Brittney Griner situation.
So there’s a lot of positive momentum, but can’t let our foot off the gas pedal on ways we can all continue to make a difference and support women’s athletics.
Q. There’s a viral video that went around of you rapping Andy Mineo’s “Been About It” word for word right after. I don’t know how many people may know Andy and Lecrae. But thanks for supporting them and their music.
STEPH CURRY: Absolutely.
Q. Question on behalf of Max Preps, Chet Holmgren was our athlete of the year, basketball player of the year. He really made a name for himself at the UA camp of yours. At that time did you ever see him being a number two pick, and what do you think it’s going to be like going up against him in the league, like the ceiling?
STEPH CURRY: Absolutely. Super talented. Blessed with physical abilities, but he had that competitive streak, work ethic. I’ve seen a lot of talent come through that All-American camp, the All American Under Armour Curry brand.
And there’s pretty good representation in the league right now, some of those kids have come through. I have a teammate in James Wiseman, who was there the year before Chet. Talent is on the rise in the league. Chet being one of them.
Exciting to see those guys come into their own, figure out how to be successful in the league because that’s when the real work starts. You make it. You have to last and become great. And watching them go through those experiences is going to be fun, but hopefully not at our expense, though.
Q. Floaters going against him?
STEPH CURRY: You’ve got to. Eight-foot wing span. Gotta get it up there.