The greatest run of shooting by the greatest shooter in NBA history traces its roots to a humble rim and fiberglass backboard tacked up to a utility pole in rural Virginia back in the 1970s.
In the debate surrounding if Stephen Curry’s prolific shooting touch boils down to nature or nurture ... the answer is both.
Curry has made 72 3-pointers in his last 10 games and 54 in his last six. It’s an unheard of stretch of brilliance — he’s hitting 55.1% from behind the arc and averaging 43.7 points a game. Sixty-five times in NBA history a player has hit 10 or more 3-pointers in a single contest.
Curry has done it four times in his last five games (and 21 for his career).
“Nobody’s ever shot the ball like this in the history of the game,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “Even by Steph’s own lofty standards, this is above and beyond.”
The initial going was rough. Steph actually started hitting fewer shots. Everything felt weird. Dell kept pushing, gently.
“He wasn’t like a drill sergeant,” Steph would say years later. “He was more supportive. He encouraged my work ethic. It was nice to have one of the best shooters in NBA history to help me.”
They shot for hours; 500 shots, 1,000 shots, more.
“I took my form and just got as many repetitions as I could until my arms got tired,” Steph said. “[Then] I came back the next day and did the same thing.”
At the time, Steph was entering and playing in high school, hoping to beat bigger players and bigger schools. He would blossom late, famously attending mid-major Davidson when ACC schools passed him by.
During all those practice sessions, no one could have envisioned the NBA, let alone three championships, two MVPs or a stretch like this.
It was just about perfecting the form that his dad perfected all those years before.
“Fundamentals,” Steph said. “You’ve got to have good balance. A lot of people focus on your hands, but it starts at your base, at your feet, being square to the basket and having good balance. You’ve got to have a solid follow-through, each shot is smooth. [Then it’s] trying to shoot the same way every single time … the best shooters shoot the exact same way every time they look at the basket.”
That’s true during an epic hot streak inside NBA arenas or a generation prior out on a simple basket deep in the Shenandoah Valley.
“It’s a never ending-process,” Steph said.