We caught up with the Golden State point guard and R&B star from the set of their short film.
After last year’s injustice of not making it to the NBA’s All-Star Weekend, the Golden State Warrior’s Stephen Curry is the heavy favorite for Saturday’s Three-Point Shootout. And if you wait to reheat Valentine's Day dinner leftovers until after the contest instead of during the commercial breaks, you’ll catch the point guard in a short film for Degree Men directed by none other than R&B singer (and husband of Sports Illustrated cover girl Chrissy Teigen) John Legend. We caught up with the guys on set back in January to find out what it was like to work together and what it takes to be the best at what you do.
How is it shooting this short film for Degree with John Legend behind the camera?
It’s amazing. I’m a big fan of his music as well as everything he does outside of the studio for a while so it’s been kind of surreal having him interview me and taking part in the whole production. It’s definitely a really cool experience.
How did you react when Degree first told you that you would be collaborating with John?
I think literally I just said, “For real?” I’ve known about John and his music forever, but I had no idea he would be interested in being a part of this experience with me. To see him sitting here, taking notes and asking me questions is kind of crazy.
What is it about the Degree campaign that specifically resonates with you as a basketball player and an athlete?
The whole “Do More” aspect of the campaign that symbolizes how I view my basketball career, from high school to the pros. Even now I feel like I can always get better and improve. I’m excited to get that message out there because it definitely resonates with me and hopefully it will inspire people to realize there’s always a next level.
What is one element of your game that you’re still looking to improve on this season?
Really just kind being a better point guard and hopefully letting us win more and more and more. A lot of people focus on the offensive side of my game but every single coach I’ve had has preached the importance of defense and that’s something I am working to improve on every day. We had a great season last year but there’s always more to obtain; this year it’s getting a championship.
Is there anything that you changed in your technique or training within the last year or two that has impacted your shooting?
I’ve stepped up my strength training, for sure. When you shoot it starts in your legs and your balance so when I train in the summer it’s all about finding improving those qualities from my legs up. Strengthening that foundation helps make shooting during a game pretty effortless and that makes me more of a consistent shooter.
You’ve spoken about not being afraid of failure on the court; do you think that’s why you take so many big shots?
Yeah taking risks with the ball is something that comes with the territory and how I play the game. I know I’m going to turn the ball over occasionally and I’m going to miss out on some plays, but I have the confidence that I will execute anything I try on the floor, so hopefully more often than not it’s successful. I think we are winning because of the way I play.
You’re known for being an incredibly nice and humble guy off the court; where do you stand on trash talk?
I like to focus on playing the game, but there are a lot of guys that talk. I think trash talk can work some guys, like, actually improve their game because they are able to get in their opponents heads or it just gives them more confidence; it pumps them up.
You’re part of the All-Star Game this weekend. Is there anyone in particular you’re excited to play with?
I’m just excited about the whole concept of the All-Star Game. I’ve been a fan of the game of basketball since I was a kid so I understand how special that honor is to be a part of the All-Star team. I watch the game every year so to get to be on the floor is a dream come true. Those guys that have made it to the All-Star team seven, eight, nine, 10 times to where it’s like a yearly thing, I hope to be like those players one day.
How did you get involved with the Degree Men: Do More campaign?
Degree reached out to me and told me they were doing this short film series that would highlight a couple star athletes and they were looking for celebrity guest directors. I found it really exciting to do something with Stephen because I feel like he is one of the most exciting young players in the NBA, who sort of burst onto the scene and made a name for himself just by being a pure scorer. I hadn’t actually met him before the shoot and I always thought it would be interesting to learn more about his journey and, in a way, to educate all the fans out there as to what it takes to be someone like him. I’m intrigued by people who dedicate their lives to being really, really great at something; people who not only have talent but also work hard to improve and get better, and become pretty much virtuosic at what they do. That’s why Stephen’s story intrigues me and I think that, in this short film series, we’ll really illustrate that for the fans and let them see what that journey is like.
As a first-time director, how did you prepare for this shoot?
Well I have a great crew that is helping me out a lot! They’ve got some real professionals here to make sure I do the right thing. When I was starting the project, though, I asked myself, what does the fan want to know about Stephen? How do I help them to understand what it takes to be a person like Stephen? And that’s really my approach. Since I’m a genuine fan of basketball and a genuine fan of what he does, I think I’m able to approach the short from a fan’s perspective and give them a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to be someone like him.
How does it feel to be behind the camera instead of the microphone?
I’ve got to tell you, it’s a little bit weird. When I look at the video treatments and other things like that I always think about how it isgoing to make me look, but now I have to think about how it’s going to make someone else look. I think that from being on a lot of video shoots where I’m the subject, and from always being hands-on in my career, and understanding who I want to work with, and making sure I’m picking the right concept - I think all of that has given me a bit of an eye in understanding the things you want to accomplish when you’re in front of and behind the camera.
Does the motto “Do More” resonate with you as a performer?
Absolutely, I think we, as musicians who are trying to be successful in a really competitive business, always have to keep pushing ourselves to continue to improve. We continue to aim for greatness every time we make a new record, every time we write a new song, every time we try to perform live we have to do all of that. It’s a little bit different with sports in the sense that only one team wins in sports, whereas in music I can do my thing well and my colleagues can do their things well at the same time, so no one really loses. Either way, though, it’s still competitive, and there’s a chance you could fail if you don’t put your all into it. We have to consistently strive to get better at what we do and maintain that level of quality that our fans deserve.
Overall, what’s been exciting for you to watch this basketball season?
It’s been exciting to see the new guards on the teams, Stephen in particular, and how they are helping these teams do really well. I grew up as a big Magic Johnson, Lakers fan and now you see all these different dynasties of the Lakers, Celtics, and then with the Bulls, Spurs facing off with these new, hot teams that are coming around and actually, in some cases, being even more successful – and these teams, like the Golden State Warriors, you know that they are going to be successful for quite a while.