The Golden State Warriors haven’t always been the dominant force we’ve come to know them for. There was a time when Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were nothing more than young kids trying to find their place in the league.
Curry hasn’t always been the greatest shooter of all time, Thompson hasn’t always been an elite catch-and-shoot threat, and Green hasn’t always been one of the best defenders. in NBA history. And just recently, one of Curry’s former teammates revealed the struggles Curry faced early in his career.
During an interview with Sky Sports, NBA veteran Jeremy Lin spoke about his experience with Curry, as they played together during Lin’s rookie season, which was Curry’s second season. Lin said then-coach Keith Smart didn’t believe in Curry and often yelled at him.
“I was with him my rookie year. The coach we had didn’t believe in Steph a lot and benched him a lot, got on top of him, yelled at him a lot, was really, really hard on him,” Lin told Sky Sports.
It’s pretty well known that Curry didn’t get the keys immediately, but hearing the extremes of what he experienced from someone who witnessed it first hand is very interesting.
And there was even more to it too.
‘Normal’ for Curry to be benched in fourth
Lin continued his stories, revealing that Curry would almost always be benched at some point in the fourth quarter. With the way Curry was trained, Lin assumed it would shake his confidence, but it didn’t.
“It’s almost become normal that every fourth quarter he’s benched for a period of time. I felt that would shake any player to some degree and even if his confidence would waver a bit – at because of the way he was being trained – he had a deep, deep, very strong belief that he was a great player and that he would become a great player and that the way things were going at that time was not always the same,” Lin explained.
In fact, Curry refused to let doubt and mistreatment get to him.
Curry has always worked harder
Whenever Curry was benched in the fourth quarter, Lin said he would walk into the gym the next day and work even harder. He would do anything to convince himself that he is one of the best in the world and that one day he will get the opportunities he deserves.
“The next day he came in and he never tried to change his game too much. He tried to stay aggressive. There’s just this aura he had of ‘There’s no shot I don’t. I can’t knock. I can knock and I can catch fire at any time. If you kick me and he comes in, you could be in trouble the rest of the night.”
“He always believed in who he was and how he could play, and the shots he can make, and he stuck to it. Sometimes it put him on the bench, but other times it allowed him to take control of the game – as long as he stuck to it and didn’t change who he was as a player. He felt like over time people would understand: “Hey, I’m fine and I’ll develop the freedom and confidence I deserve as a player,” Lin said.
Clearly, those dark times early in his career were worth it, as they helped Curry become the player he is today.
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