Achieving greatness usually requires someone to take small incremental steps early in life, leading to exponential growth over time.
Stephen Curry’s new documentary “Underrated” displays the importance of family and someone believing in you during one’s formative years. It reminds me of something I wrote in a previous article called the “Chaos theory.”
The theory states, “A butterfly could flap his wings in China and cause a tornado in Texas.”
The tornado we all now know as Stephen Curry was once a skinny 130-pound butterfly and a sophomore in high school. He informed his father, Del Curry, a former NBA player, that he wanted to play division one college basketball.
Del analyzed his son’s game and told him about a tiny but critical issue Stephen needed to fix to make it on the highest level of college basketball.
He needed to change his jump shot.
The problem being Stephen shot the ball from his chest. Del knew Steph could get away with improper technique in high school but would ultimately fail at the next level. His shot would get blocked by bigger and faster opponents.
Steph agreed to follow his father’s suggestion and would spend all summer practicing releasing the ball from above his head.
By all accounts, it was a frustrating few months. Spending hours altering what you have naturally done for years involves plenty of trial and error. Stephen told his parents he wanted to quit and go back to shooting in his natural motion.
Steph’s mother, Sonya Curry, gave him another minor but critical nugget.
She told Steph, “You can quit and return to the way you were shooting; you always have choices in life.” Then Sonya said, “But if you want to play at the highest levels, you need to listen to what your father is saying.”
Mrs. Curry knew her husband had expertise in basketball and did not lie to her son. She let him make the decision, and he stuck to the plan.
Steph went on to have a fabulous junior year of high school. He started to create a buzz in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he lived. Although Steph had grown to around six feet tall, he was still skinny.
The basketball coaching staff from Virginia Tech, his parent’s alma mater, told him he was too small to play in their league.
This was a blow to Steph because he wanted to follow in his parent’s footsteps. In fact, most division one schools did not recruit him because of his lack of size and athleticism. Only one smaller division school did want Steph, Davidson.
Davidson’s coach at the time, Bob McKillop, watched Steph play his junior year and felt he was a diamond in the rough.
Mr. McKillop wanted Steph on his team because he believed in him. When Mr. McKillop came to the Curry’s home to give them his recruiting pitch. Steph stopped him two minutes into the routine and said, “Coach, I’m coming to Davidson.”
There was a celebration in Curry’s home due to that announcement.
Sonya Curry mentioned to Mr. McKillop as he was leaving, “We’ll fatten him up for you.” He replied, “Don’t worry; we’ll take him as he is.” This remark stayed with Steph because it also reaffirmed that someone else saw his potential.
In his first college basketball game, Steph Curry struggled mightily.
He had 13 turnovers and could not make a shot. Mr. McKillop kept Steph in the starting lineup for the next game. The young Curry figured it out in that contest and scored 35 points. Again, Steph implies things might have been different for his career had he been benched after his terrible debut.
Steph had a fantastic college career and almost took Davidson to the final four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament his sophomore year.
At the end of his junior season, Steph decided to enter the NBA draft and start his professional journey. But, he openly admits that without Mr. McKillop’s support, his NBA dreams may have ended without a chance.
This story illuminates how critical having people who believe in you is.
Each slight adjustment given to Steph in the beginning stages of his development led to his remarkable career. Someone who was not thought of highly by coaches and scouts became one of the NBA’s greatest shooters in its history.
A story like this should inspire parents, grandparents, and those who work with children.
Not every child can play in the NBA, but they might become significant in their chosen field. Giving them helpful feedback, but most of all, believing in what they might achieve in the future can further motivate them to extraordinary heights.
Watering something they love could completely change the trajectory of their lives.
As “Underrated” brilliantly details, sometimes in life, you need folks who trust your abilities. It can spark a fire inside a young person, which galvanizes them to climb any mountain that stands in their way.
Vertis Williams is a Positive Habits Life Coach and a Mindfulness Trainer. He is a regular presenter at employee and team development events. Contact him to request more info on his Workshops or on his Coaching Services! Click HERE to Request a Complimentary Habit Coaching Session!