FORT MILL — Since having ankle surgery in April, NBA star Stephen Curry has spent considerable time in Charlotte working on his game and body.
His muscular arms and back are evidence of how much he’s worked. He doesn’t much resemble the skinny kid who thrilled fans at Charlotte Christian and Davidson.
Still months away from the start of NBA training camp in October, Curry, the Golden State Warriors’ starting point guard, spends many mornings at Accelerate Basketball, a training facility for youth, college and professional athletes near Ballantyne Country Club in south Charlotte.
Trainer Brandon Payne walks around with a three-page training plan he prepares for Curry and other pros, who include the Atlanta Hawks’Anthony Morrow, a former Charlotte Latin star, and former Providence High star Antawn Jamison, the former North Carolina All-American, who is an NBA free agent.
Curry dribbles a 6-pound leather basketball with one hand while making left-handed, behind-the-back passes with a regulation ball to trainer Blake Boehringer. Next, he’s dribbling a heavy ball with his right hand and tossing a tennis ball with his left to Boehringer.
Later, he does a complex drill of dribbling a heavy ball while touching a series of lighted wall fixtures that glow in a pattern.
“It’s crazy stuff, but it helps a lot keeping my body in shape and keep my fundamentals and motor skills at a high level when it comes to basketball, without a lot of stress on my ankle,” Curry said. “It’s very different, some of the ways they stay above the curve with the different technologies they’ve found.”
Curry, who will host a basketball camp at Charlotte Christian on Sunday, said he’s feeling healthy again. He missed 40 games last season. He originally wanted to play through his injury, but now says having the surgery, his second ankle procedure in about a year, was the best thing he could’ve done.
Now he works with trainers and a physical therapist almost daily. Monday, he wore low-top sneakers and no brace. He moved normally and was upbeat about the season, discussing his first child – expected any day, the possibility of one day playing against his brother, Seth, in an NBA game, and his chances of becoming an All-Star.
Q. How’s the rehab coming?
It’s good and it’s a process I’ve gone through two summers in a row now, but this summer’s a little different knowing we have a set date (Oct. 2) to start training camp without a lockout. I can set up a program to take full advantage of the time I have this summer to get back and be ready. I’m right where I want to be.
Q. Are you nervous about getting out on the court?
Naturally, you’re more anxious to get back on the floor and get that feeling of ‘I know it’s 100 percent’ and not have to worry about it anymore. I know when I do get back I will worry about it for a month or so. (After the injuries last season) I wasn’t 100 percent at all. I wanted to play, but it was a smart decision – looking back on it – to sit.
I was able to figure out what was exactly wrong with my ankle instead of running it into the ground, so I had the surgery done in April and I’ve taken time off and made it useful.
Q. The NBA’s Western Conference is loaded with elite point guards – Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Tony Parker; do you feel you can make the All-Star team this season?
That’s what I’m working for. I don’t really put any extra pressure on myself and say, ‘This is the year to make it happen.’ You work hard in the summer and hopefully we’ll be winning a lot more, so we’ll be a more relevant team on a national scale.
I think the front office made some great moves this summer. For me, I’ve got to take care of my business, to get back healthy. That’s all I can worry about right now.
Q. You’ve got a baby due any moment now, right?
Any day now. I’ve got my phone on loud to make sure I don’t miss that call in case (wife Ayesha) goes into labor. I’m excited. We’re having a little girl. It’ll be fun.
Being a dad is going to be different. Life changes immediately once you have a kid. I’ve heard so many different stories and ways you can prepare yourself, but as much advice as you hear, you have to go through it yourself.
Q. You want more kids?
Hope so. I am one of three siblings and my wife has five, so we both know how to handle that.
Q. Do you and your brother Seth (a senior guard at Duke) ever talk about possibly playing against each other in the NBA?
Seth’s doing really well. It’s a big year for him to make some noise. He’ll be a senior leader and they’ll go as far as he goes. He has a lot of confidence and I have a lot of faith in him. They’ve got to make up for that tough loss last year (75-70 to Lehigh in the first round of the NCAA tournament).
As for the NBA, we talk about it, but I don’t want to jump the gun for him and I want him to enjoy his last year of college, but (playing in the NBA together) would be something that’s really special. There’s a couple of brother duos in the league and we’d love to be one of them.
Q. Can Stephen Curry go to a grocery story and not get mobbed?
(Laughs). A few fans recognize me, but for the most part the wife and I can go to a movie, go to the grocery store and go out to eat. My dad (Dell) played here for so long (with the Charlotte Hornets), a lot of his fans come up to me and remember me running around when I was 3 or 4 or 5 and think I can remember them.
I have no idea, but it’s fun to hear all the old stories from people who love the old Hornets.