Curry and Davis Ready To Step Up As the Faces of USA Basketball
Of the 34 players on the USA Men’s National Team minicamp roster, no one’s life has probably changed as dramatically in the last 12 months as Stephen Curry.
Since his last visit to UNLV’s Mendenhall Center, where Curry made the USA team roster that would go on to win gold in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Curry won the NBA’s MVP award, won the NBA title and watched his wife give birth to their second child. Now he finds himself back in a familiar space thinking about what could come next.
“For me, this gym signifies where it all started last year,” Curry said, “and we’re back here getting ready for next year.”
The next year could include a lot of things, including another possible run to the title. Curry is hoping it also includes a bucket list item at the Rio Olympic Games.
Like a lot of Men’s National Team players at this week’s three-day minicamp in Las Vegas, Curry got started with USA Basketball as a teenager. At the top level, he’s helped win gold last year and at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, but the lure of the Olympics remains out there.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be on two gold medal-winning teams but never played on an Olympic team, so that’s something I want to be able to experience and this is part of the process,” Curry said.
The camp roster includes long-time contributors LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, who could become the first Americans to chase basketball gold in four different Olympic Games. But their time in the organization is almost done, and continuing the success will require others to step up as the face of USA Basketball.
Curry is one such candidate, as is 6-foot-10 forward Anthony Davis, who received that label last year as he emerged during the World Cup run. One day, it could be Davis trying to match James and Anthony’s accomplishments because three years ago he, then the recent No. 1 pick out of Kentucky, contributed to the 2012 Olympic Games gold in London.
“I was 19 years old when I first got thrown in the fire,” Davis said. “It’s been a definite honor to play for USA, to play for Coach K and to play alongside some of these superstars.”
There’s a balance to be made between the demands of the NBA and USA Basketball, something USA Basketball Chairman and National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo has often thanked attendees for managing. This is especially true for the guys like Curry and James, whose playoff runs meant their seasons didn’t end until mid-June.
In a noncompetition year that’s not as big of an issue, because this week’s minicamp isn’t too physically imposing. Still, it’s something else new for Curry, who said he made sure to take some time off working back into his offseason routine.
In another 12 months it’s impossible to say how much Curry’s life will change, but he knows he wants it to end up in the same gym, surrounded by many of the same faces.
“It’s important to remember the sense of pride,” Curry said, “and how much fun it is to be in a different setting with your peers and suit up for a common goal.”