Baby-Faced-Assassin Portraying Gladwellian Traits
By Justin Weber | Computer Science major
Oklahoma City Thunder Guard Russell Westbrook bulldozes into the lane, throws up a prayer from inside the key. Rebounded by Andre Iguodala as he passes it to the Golden State Warriors Guard Stephen Curry who’s streaking down the sideline. Six seconds left, tie ball game. Steph nonchalantly dribbles up the court. Passed the half court line. Puts up a thirty-four foot three. Time running out. Bang! Curry runs down the sideline dancing to victory (FreeXimoPierto).
Curry has been around the game of basketball since he was able to walk and talk. All thanks to his father, Dell Curry. Dell Curry was a shooting guard most famously known for playing with the Charlotte Hornets. It wasn’t always easy for Curry. He attended Charlotte Christian where he was heckled by fans, saying, “You’re not daddy! Daddy can’t help you,” (Gregory 7). Upon the conclusion of Curry’s high school career, he decided to dedicate all his time and energy to basketball. He ended up attending the small liberal arts school Davidson College. It was there he shaped his craft into what we have come to know and love. He wound up in the Golden State ending a 40-year title drought of the Warriors (Gregory 9).
Curry being a tall, skinny but lean player has put a lot of work into the three point shot and his shifty moves. He has swept up the sporting industry being the first sports athlete to take over social media on any given night. He is now an NBA champion. Curry is defying his size and strength, is benefiting from his family legacy, turning disadvantages into advantages and obtaining 10,000 hours that many NBA players strive to achieve in their careers.
Curry is defying his size and strength, is benefiting from his family legacy, turning disadvantages into advantages and obtaining 10,000 hours that many NBA players strive to achieve in their careers.
Steph Curry was born into an unusual household compared to most Americans. His family consists of a mother, father and eventually a younger brother and sister. The thing that makes this household unusual is that his father was an NBA three-point shooting star. He played for the Utah Jazz to start and for multiple teams throughout his career. Curry’s mother was also a very successful athlete playing Division I volleyball at Virginia Tech. While Curry was growing up he played multiple sports including football, baseball, and basketball. Having a father that was a professional basketball player one would think that he would push his son to be the best he could at basketball. In reality, his father just supported Curry in whatever he was doing in his life. He didn’t want to make the decision, if he loved basketball and wanted to be good he wanted his son to make that decision on his own and not force it on him.
It was in 8th grade when Steph decided that basketball was his passion and he was going to do whatever he could to improve his game in high school to someday play college basketball. Curry later said, “When I was in 8th grade I made a decision to spend all year round on it, to do anything necessary to play in college.” It would be hard to think his father wasn’t pleased with his son’s decision, going on to say it will take a lot of hard work and a lot of hours to do this (E:60). He attended Charlotte Christian High School where the journey began. It was there where he was starting to get his swagger and motivation to be able to play at the elite level of Division I basketball, which he was striving to achieve. With the help of an ex-NBA star Curry will have a better chance than the rest of his fellow high school basketball players.
Everyone has parents and a family, regardless if it is a good situation or a bad situation, family is family and you can’t change who your parents are. But in sports, does having a different type of parent really matter? If your mom is a saleswoman and your dad is a janitor; or your mom is a Division I volleyball player and your dad is ex-NBA star does that really make a difference?
An experiment was done by two psychologists at the University of Michigan in the early 1990’s. The experiment consisted of testing the cultural legacies of children that extended from places like Harlan, Kentucky. The goal was to try to find remnants of culture of honor in the modern era. So they gathered a group of kids and staged a simple test. The test consisted of a questionnaire and then brought it down to the end of a long narrow hallway. There was a confederate man at the end of the hall that slammed a locker shut and said the trigger word of “asshole” as they walked past. Some reacted to this and some didn’t. It all mattered as to where you were from (Outliers 171–172). The opposite of this is true for Steph Curry. He grew up with highly educated parents going to Virginia Tech and playing Division I sports. It is also different for Curry because he grew up in a nice city of Charlotte where Dell played professional basketball for the Charlotte Hornets. Curry’s father was a professional basketball player who was an elite three-point shooter making 1245 threes in his career. If you had a father that was this talented in your respected field of work wouldn’t it give you an advantage on how to in this case shoot the ball?
Your family matters, where you come from matters. Leah Goldman wrote on business insider, “Athletes’ kids are probably some of the luckiest people alive. They’re born into great fortunes, and are most likely blessed with awesome athletic genes” (Goldman). This is true in the case of Steph Curry who went on to Davidson and became one of the most iconic March Madness players of all time. The recognition of Stephen Curry becoming a superstar. With what Curry is able to accomplish in today’s game is unfathomable. Without Curry having his dad in his corner for all those years would he have been able to be the Steph Curry that we have come to know and love today? Dell Curry said in an E: 60 on Steph Curry, “It’s a father’s dream to watch your son compete and do the things that you did and he’s better than you are. There’s no doubt about it, I can still shoot a little bit, but he’s way better than I ever was” (E: 60). Your family background does matter on what you are going to do in life. Malcolm Gladwell writes in Outliers, “When and where you are born, what your parents did for a living, and what the circumstances of your upbringing were all make a significant difference in how well you do in the world ” (Outliers 175–176).
Steph Curry had a huge opportunity in his life of being the son of a professional, elite basketball player. From being the son of a professional basketball player and Division I volleyball player, Curry represents the Gladwellian idea that where you come from matters. Your family matters. Your background matters. Without the family that he has Curry could’ve been an average basketball player that no one knows about, but he is now an NBA Champion.
Steph Curry, throughout his life, has encountered many obstacles that would be thought of as impossible to overcome within his basketball career. The start of his basketball career was a challenge that most people don’t have. One major obstacle was that he was just too small and not strong enough. He would never make it anywhere further than high school basketball. Many of his obstacles came when he was attempting to find a college basketball program that would take a chance on him and allow him to use his talents to help that program win basketball games. The only Division I School that would take a chance on him was his father’s college, Virginia Tech. There, he would only be able to walk onto the basketball team and not receive a scholarship to play.
While making his decision on what he wanted to do for his basketball career, a small school from Charlotte was intrigued with Steph’s talents and what he could do on the basketball court. That school is known as Davidson College, a small liberal arts school. Davidson’s head coach, Bob McKillop said in an E:60 about Steph Curry and not being recruited to go to a big time school, “major college basketball factories thought curry was too fragile” (E:60). So along with Curry being too small, skinny, not strong enough, ankle problems and going to a small liberal arts school. How did Curry become Curry through all these setbacks? All of the critics thought he was just some really good high school player and in actuality he could play at the next level and at an MVP type performance.
David Boies is an American lawyer and chairman of the law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner. This example of how you can turn a disadvantage into an advantage in your life. David Boies was an average guy born in Illinois in farming country. He was the eldest of five children of his parents who were school teachers. When David was little his mother would read to him before bed. He would have to memorize what his mother said to him. Because he was unable to read what was on the page that his mother was reading. He didn’t begin to read until the third grade which is unusual for American children. Usually kids start to read when they are in first grade or slightly younger. So this wasn’t normal. Why was David Boies unable to read? Many years later he began to realize that he had dyslexia. You wouldn’t want your children to have dyslexia or another learning disability would you? Maybe after hearing about David Boies. David was always challenged in school so it was strange when he decided to enroll into law school to become a lawyer, right? David states, “Listening, he say, is something I’ve been doing essentially all my life. I learned to do it because that was the only that I could learn.” (David & Goliath 107–109). Wouldn’t it make sense for someone who can’t read become a lawyer? They just need to pick out the facts in what people are telling to him, and wouldn’t you want someone who has spent his whole life focused on listening because that is the only way he is able to learn and comprehend learning?
This same style of turning a disadvantage into an advantage works in Curry’s basketball career. It was thought to be a huge disadvantage for Curry when he was going to Davidson to play basketball and continue his career. Before attending and graduated from Davidson there had only been five total players who have played in the NBA that had played at Davidson. So initially you would think it’s a long shot at getting into the NBA while attending this small liberal arts school. It also applies to his size and strength, something that is abnormal to the typical player in a basketball player.
Curry, while attending Davidson was able to develop his game. Stemming from his first game at Davidson. In his first college game he had 10 TO’s in the first half of the game which is atrocious for a PG at any level of basketball, whether you are in traveling basketball or the NBA finals. 10 TO’s is unacceptable. Head coach, Mckillop wasn’t going to start him coming into the second half. But good thing he did start him because Curry started his fame and brought Davidson back and they were able to complete the comeback victory. He continued to fine tune his game and become a lights out shooter throughout his time at Davidson. He had the opportunity to play more minutes and more quality time than players at a bigger schools. Along with him fine tuning his game he also got bigger, and stronger. When he first came into Davidson, his jersey swallowed him up. He was 5’11 and weighed about 170. By the time he left Davidson he was 6’3 190.
Steph turned his disadvantage of going to a small school and being small and turned it into an advantage of being able to develop his talents and develop into a more full body frame. He took the time he needed and impressed many NBA teams, but there were still doubters to the day he was drafted. ESPN tweeted out on draft night, “Stephen Curry declared for NBA Draft. Doug Gottlieb ‘He doesn’t have the upside of Rubio. Jennings, Flynn, Mills, Teague all more athletic.’”(ESPN Tweet). Curry has silenced these doubters and is an MVP/World Champion by using his Gladwellian trait of turning disadvantages into advantages.
“Stephen Curry declared for NBA Draft. Doug Gottlieb “He doesn’t have the upside of Rubio. Jennings, Flynn, Mills, Teague all more athletic.””
Curry was blessed with an amazing family background, with his father being in the NBA and being able to be around NBA players, the atmosphere, and the winning culture that the NBA inspires. He was able to obtain help from many players and acquire time practicing his own game at such a young age, with the best of the best.
A study done by Chris Miall on the 10,000 hours to perfection rule is a Gladwellian key to success. The study consisted of monkeys. The authors trained ten monkeys to reach to targets displayed on a touch screen for water rewards. All the monkeys were trained for at least seven months; three of them for more than thirty months and a fourth for more than six years. What the authors found is that the monkeys that were trained for longer periods of time had interesting traits happen in their brain. These monkeys were essentially remembering how to do this almost muscle memory like. With little thought to what they were doing these monkeys just knew to do it. Where in the monkeys that were trained less had more brain activity when doing this task because they couldn’t fully remember how to do the task, they had to reprocess what was going on and how to do it (Miall Chris). Steph is a living breathing example of the 10,000-hour rule proved in the study. When Steph was in eight grade, he started to fully dedicate his time to basketball, which started to lead him to getting his 10,000-hours even faster than before. Attending NBA games, his dad’s practices, and playing one-on-one with Vince Carter, he was obtaining his 10,000-hours before he was even fully dedicated to the game of basketball.
Stephen Curry would come to almost every one of his dad’s games that his mom would allow him to go to, if it wasn’t on a school night. After the game, when NBA Star Vince Carter would finish his workouts, he would play a game of one-on-one with Curry. Vince Carter said this about Stephen Curry in an interview on ESPN, “I just remember coming out and getting my workout in before the game, once I finished my workout, I’m telling Steph to come on. We used to play one-on-one before each game. Now, all of a sudden in the NBA, we play against him. To see him win the MVP, to see him win a championship, I’m just like man, this is the same kid that I used to play one-on-one against. He had it all then. His mindset is that, ‘hey, this time I’m gonna beat you’” (Alysha Tsuji).
Steph shows that when you acquire your 10,000-hours, you are truly a master in your respective field of work. Whether you are a blacksmith, a pianist, or an NBA basketball player. Steph Curry has gone from almost not playing college basketball to becoming an NBA champion by acquiring his 10,000-hours thanks to having an enriched family legacy.
The Golden State Warriors Point Guard is an example of the Gladwellian traits that he writes in the books, Outliers and David and Goliath. He has used his family legacy to his advantage with his dad being an elite NBA three-point shooter. His mom being a gifted athlete with playing Division I volleyball at Virginia Tech. Along with being able to turn his disadvantages into advantages within his basketball career by only being recruited to go to Davidson and being passed up by big time Division I schools, he also acquired his 10,000-hours with the help of his enriched family legacy. He was able to practice and absorb what was going on during NBA practices. Just recently Stephen Curry has received his second MVP award; the first player in NBA history to receive a unanimous decision for the MVP award. Stephen Curry states why people can relate to him so well, “I’m them”.
Stephen Curry states why people can relate to him so well, “I’m them”.
Alysha Tsuji. “Vince Carter recalls playing 1-on-1 vs. Steph Curry When he was little: ‘Man,
this is the same kid!” FTW! NBA. FTW! NBA. 9 Apr 2016. Web. 10 May, 2016.
E: 60 “E: 60 Stephen Curry” YouTube. YouTube, 29 April 2014. Web 28 April 2016.
FreeXimoPierto, dir. “Stephen Curry Game-Winner | Warriors vs Thunder | February 27, 2016
| NBA 2015–16 Season” YouTube. YouTube, 28 Feb 2016. Web 1 May 1, 2016.
Gladwell, Malcom. Outliers: The Story of Success. New York: Little, Brown and Company,
— -. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the art of battling giants. New York: Little
Brown and Company, 2013. Print.
Goldman Leah. Business Insider. Business. 26 May,2013. Web. 5 May, 2016.
Gregory, Sean “Stephen Curry and the Greatest Show on Earth”. New York: Time. 2015, Print.
Herbert James. “Vince Carter tells about playing a young Stephen Curry 1-on-1” CBSSports
2016. Online Article.
Ingle, Gary. “Practice, Practice, Practice” Ohio: American Movie Teacher 2008. Print.
Miall, Chris. “10,000 hours to perfection” United Kingdom: Nature Publishing Group 2013.
Sports Center (SportsCenter) “Stephen Curry Declared for NBA Draft. Doug Gottlies “He
Doesn’t have the upside of Rubio. Jennings, Flynn, Mills, Teague all more athletic””
23 April 2009, 9:00 a.m. Tweet.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Justin Weber, a freshman from Blaine, MN., is acquiring a BA in computer science. Is looking to become a coder for a professional sports organization. Weber likes cinnabon delights at Taco Bell with 4 soft shells with meat and cheese, Minnesota Twins baseball and Code Red Mtn. Dew.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED:
I’ve learned that we need 10,000 hours to become a master at a given trait.
Always name the dog when introducing someone.
Scott Winter’s quizzes aren’t fair.
How to use up a whole week of class time on watching Moneyball.
Put words in your paper that you know how to pronounce.
To not judge a book by its cover.
Scott Winters wants us to succeed in life.
How to properly format.
I’ve learned that the most important book in the entire world is Little Seagulls.
Don’t be basic with your writing. Come up with creative sentences that no one else has written before.
Never resort to “is-ing” and “was-ing”.
That I was apart of the best group name, JAMN’.
Some people just have better advantages than us.
We compare ourselves to those in the same situations as ourselves.
That Scott Winters is totally wrong with what the best Disney animated movie is, Shrek. Everyone knows it’s Big Hero 6.