Steph Curry has become an NBA megastar over the last six years, winning three titles and two MVPs while taking over the throne as the greatest shooter in NBA history.
None of that is much of a surprise to Vince Carter. Carter played with Steph's father, Dell Curry, on the Toronto Raptors from 1999 through 2002. Steph and his younger brother Seth always were hanging with their dad, and Carter could tell the NBA was in Steph's future while playing 1-on-1 against an 11-year-old Steph.
"Gym rats. You could see their appreciation for the game, and dedication. They were always working on their shot."@mrvincecarter15 talks about being around a young @StephenCurry30 & @sdotcurry when playing in Toronto with their father Dell. #NBATogether pic.twitter.com/ghzS2nBBFJ— NBA (@NBA) July 8, 2020
"Every day he was there," Carter told Turner Sports' Ernie Johnson about Steph. "Just on the sideline, with a ball. And I'll say Seth as well. They were both just gym rats. They love the game. You could see the appreciation for the game and the dedication. They were always working on their shot. He had a nice follow through then. It's like he's destined to be an NBA player. One, being around it and two, just the work they put in on their own. And, of course, dad was a pretty decent shooter himself, so figured something close to that would come for both his kids. But before every home game, after my workout, Steph and I would play 1-on-1."
"After every workout, you'd see him on the sideline working on his shot like, 'You ready?'" Carter recalled. "Then we'd go at it and we'd play. That's what it was. You could see that as the year went on, he started getting confidence, finally figuring out ways to get his shot off. It got to the point where I'd need to block the shot because I don't want him thinking he could beat me. For him, people would think, 'Oh this is a fun game.' But for him, he's learning how to get his shot off against taller guys, older guys, working on the quickness of the shot, which any college player will tell you now how important it is to be able to get your shot off half a second quicker than you used to because of the quickness of the NBA. It matters. I think him getting the repetitions for 41 professional games was paramount for him."
One of the benefits of having a father in the NBA is you get to test your skills against a young Vince Carter. There's no doubt that being around the NBA on a daily basis helped prepare Curry for a life in the league. Forty-one matchups against a future Hall of Famer like Carter certainly helped elevate his game at a young age as well.
The rest is history for Carter and Curry. Carter just wrapped up a 22-year NBA career that saw him make eight All-Star teams and score 25,728 points. He's almost certainly ticketed for a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Curry spent the past season nursing a broken left hand suffered in the fourth game of the season. While he and Klay Thompson were out with injuries, the Warriors sunk to the bottom of the NBA. But with the championship core rested and healthy next season, the Warriors should be primed for a march back to the top of the NBA.
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