In an exclusive conversation with its namesake star, Boardroom goes inside the stories, challenges, and triumphs that led to Apple TV’s Stephen Curry: Underrated.
Wardell Stephen Curry II was not supposed to become a household name, and it’s totally fine with him if everyone knows that.
Did he have to learn how to change his entire shooting motion in order to compensate for his size? Definitely. Did his dream school, Virginia Tech, reject him? Yeah, that happened too. Did he ever doubt that he could compete at the highest level of his sport? Sometimes. But he did always know one thing:
“I could shoot.”
And that was enough.
In Apple TV’s new documentary, Stephen Curry: Underrated, the Golden State Warriors superstar’s unlikely ascent to the Mount Rushmore of the NBA is on full display. However, this isn’t a documentary that paints him as a unicorn; it’s a film that promises that Steph is not an anomaly. It is not the tale of a prodigious one-and-done, but rather a living testament to what intentional love and support can do for the inner workings of a man who is so intensely focused on executing his goals that even destiny had to bow.
Underrated is a story about the physical manifestation of what it means to never quit. To not drown out the noise but welcome it. Embrace it. And use it as fuel to knock down doors that never planned to open for you.
First, he painstakingly molded himself into a hooper who could mentally, emotionally, and physically compete with bigger players who had real skin in the game. It served Curry well as he was putting a small school in the Southern Conference on the map. Then, he meticulously carved out a path to Hall of Fame-level greatness while leaving a trail of transcendent box scores immortalized on bulletin boards and in corner offices behind him.
But perhaps what is most masterful about the making of the NBA’s greatest shooter of all-time is that he himself is the canvas on which he never stops painting. An ever-in-progress masterpiece that is hardly sullied by the next brush stroke. Appreciating in value like all great art. Untouched by time, yet wholly immortalized by it. His museums are the Chase Center where the Warriors call home, or Madison Square Garden, where he earned still-more places in the record books. History frames him in the spotlight.
And there he’s been. On view for all of us to experience.
From a scrawny kid draped in a jersey that always seemed one size too big to the NBA’s only unanimous MVP in its history, a five-time champion, and the leader of the juggernaut dynasty out west that no one saw coming. Undersized. Underrated. As a hoop fan, it doesn’t matter what you thought or what you think of Stephen Curry — all that matters is that you’re experiencing his brilliance.
And that’s really all it takes to understand the whole picture.
To get the inside story on Stephen Curry: Underrated, which hit Apple TV on July 21, Boardroom caught up with the superstar himself to talk about the origin of the film, what it means to lose, and why he’s decided to tell his story now.
IMAN MILNER: What do you feel is the benefit of being “underrated?”
STEPHEN CURRY: It gives you just a little extra gas in the tank and a chip on your shoulder. It’s a badge of honor for me, really. It’s about believing in who you are, in what makes you unique and different. The confidence to run your own race and not get into the comparison game of where somebody else might be. Dedicating yourself to something, in terms of your work ethic and your attention to detail in whatever craft or industry we’re talking about. Just believing that over time, if you stick to whatever process you’re doing, you’ll get your opportunity. You’ll get your chance to shine. It will be good enough.
Everybody sees the finished product of a lot of things with social media now and the stories we see on a daily basis, but that’s never the full picture.
IM: What’s your favorite part about this piece of the Stephen Curry story?
SC: The cool thing about this documentary, to me, is that you get to see the origin story of my career and all the things that went into making me who I am as a person, as a player on the court, and all the people around me that believed in me along the way. So, I feel like you can really see how I turned that idea of being underrated into something that ended up being positive.
IM: I love that losing is centered extensively throughout the doc. What does how we respond to losing teach us about winning?
SC: Failure is a universal experience. If you haven’t experienced failure then you’re not really trying hard enough at whatever you’re pursuing. It’s a part of life, growth, and the evolution of who you are. It teaches you so much about where that gap is between success and failure. Being OK with putting yourself out there and living with the results. That’s a big part of it. Losing exposes who you are more than winning does.
IM: Which parts of the documentary feel most special to you?
SC: One of my favorite parts of the documentary is one of my “lowlights” — I had 13 turnovers in my first game at Davidson and I was really just being exposed out there. I didn’t know what was going on, I was vulnerable. And either I could fold or I could keep pushing. Keep pushing doesn’t always mean that success is right around the corner, it means you’re just not going to stop. You have a decision to make and the moments where you decide to keep going. Those are the moments you actually see what you’re made of. I like that people get to see that I’ve really lived that.
IM: Why was it important for you to get to tell your own story while still being an active player in the league? Why not after retirement?
SC: I’m always in the business of inspiring people and trying to find ways to connect people to my story. There was a 15-year milestone of our tournament run and a great opportunity to reflect on all the things that have happened since, so it felt right doing a deep dive on that part of my journey, to acknowledge all that has gone into me being the player that I am on the court today and to really put into perspective that it wasn’t always this.
The highlights, the championships, and the MVPs, there were a lot of growing pains on the way to all of that. Working with Apple, A24, Ryan Coogler, Peter Nicks, and the entire team who believed that this story could resonate with a lot of different people. It was just all perfectly aligned so it felt right to do it now.
Stephen Curry: Underrated is streaming now on Apple TV+. Click here to learn more and watch today.
From supermax stars to ascendant phenoms, check out our definitive ranking of the highest-paid NBA players for the 2023-24 season….
With nine players checking in at a 95 or higher, find out who tops the list of this year’s NBA 2K24 ratings ahead of the game’s release on Sept. 8. Gamers will get their…