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Steph Curry: Underrated—Reflection and Discussion Guide

How do you describe Stephen Curry? Four-time NBA Champion? Two-time MVP? The all-time three point leader. Greatest shooter in the game? Do you quote what his Twitter handle states: Believer. Husband 2@ayeshacurry, father to Riley, Ryan and Canon, son, brother. Warriors guard. Davidson Wildcat. BAYC. Philippians 4:13 #ChangeTheGameForGood?!

While my friend Alan believes Steph leads the league in (understated) swagger, I think there's only one way to describe the man: clutch. With this eagle putt at the American Century Classic, just one day after his hole-in-one (his second of all time), he had sports fans all over the country thinking exactly what he, Wardell Stephen Curry II, thought long ago. He's different

Such is the primary claim that Curry makes in the Apple TV documentary, Underrated. The two hour film details "how a little-known high school prospect from North Carolina became a generational superstar," but also offers us a whole lot to think about in sports and in spirituality.

I have created the following discussion guide, in tandem with the article From Underrated to Undeniable: How Stephen Curry Went From 3-Star Prospect to All-time 3-Point Leader. I hope this thematic focus will only add to your enjoyment and appreciation of Steph Curry and his story. I will be using it this Fall! Open to amendments and suggestions.

According to the “the trailer for Curry's documentary broke his career into five subcategories; unknown, undersized, underestimated, unstoppable and undeniable. He overcame obstacles every step of the way”. I have blended their information, notes from watching the documentary and questions grounded in Sports and Spirituality for this discussion guide. 

Stephen Curry was only a three-star prospect in high school, ranked as the 16th-best player in North Carolina, 60th best point guard in the nation and the 300th best player overall in the Class of 2006. Curry didn't receive any offers from the major conference schools and was only offered a walk-on at his parent's Alma-Mater Virginia Tech. Getting offers from Davidson, Winthrop and Virginia Commonwealth, Curry settled on Davidson.

  • As you watch the program, consider what advantages or opportunities were afforded to Steph given that he was “unknown.”

  • To what degree could being “unknown” serve as an advantage?

  • What are the gifts and graces of being “unknown?”

At 6'2 headed into college and 6'3 in the NBA, talent evaluators were wary of Curry's smaller frame. Some scouts viewed him as too small to play the shooting guard position and didn't think point guard was his natural position. In addition, top scorers on championship teams are traditionally much taller than Curry, and some questioned if a player at his size could break that mold.

  • At a certain age, Steph comes to the realization that he wasn’t going to grow much taller. He admitted “It never killed my love for the game. It was a very difficult time. I had to learn how to embrace the challenge of it.” What are some your self-realizations? How did you respond? Who did you turn to for support? 

  • While athletes can improve their speed, strength, stature—physical height is fixed. In what ways does Steph work with this limitation? Around it?

  • It’s human to think about what we do not have and focus on our limitations, wishing something might change. How often to you take inventory of the gifts you have? When and how do you do that? Do you give thanks for those inherent talents and abilities?

Since he entered the league in 2009, Stephen Curry has been the shortest player to win an NBA Championship as the team’s leading scorer. In that span, Curry is one of three players 6’3 or shorter to win a regular season MVP (joining Derrick Rose in 2011 and Russell Westbrook in 2017) and the only player to win multiple MVPs. In 2022, Curry became one of six players in NBA history to win a Finals MVP at 6’3 or shorter (Jerry West, Joe Dumars, Isiah Thomas, Chauncey Billups, Tony Parker).

  • Coaches, analysts and other players had reasons for underestimating Steph Curry. His mother, Sonya Curry said “What I liked about Coach McKillop was that it wasn’t about proving other people wrong as it was about proving himself RIGHT.” Underestimating an athlete, a coach, a student, artist, musician is not uncommon. 

  • When it a time you underestimated someone? What lessons did you learn?

  • Do you tend to underestimate others? How hard is it for you to admit if you’re wrong?

In the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves had two opportunities to select Curry before the Warriors picked seventh overall. With the fifth and sixth picks, the Timberwolves selected two point guards, Ricky Rubio and Johnny Flynn, instead. Curry has gone on to be an NBA All-Star nine times, while Rubio and Flynn never had such an honor.

Throughout his championship runs, many pundits still underestimated Curry's ability to lead a title team. In 2015, some claimed that the title was tainted due to injuries to key players on the Cavaliers. And in 2017 and 2018, it was Durant who received the NBA Finals MVP Award.

In 2022, the Warriors again won the title – their fourth in eight years – and Curry captured his first Finals MVP, averaging 31.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists in the Dubs’ six-game series victory over the Celtics.

  • Time and again, Steph executes. He has made the basket on the free throw line and drained the three. This summer he sank the putt for the W at a golf tournament.
    • Can one take steps to become “clutch?” 
    • Do you think there is a discipline to this process?

  • How do you eliminate distraction?!

  • How do you become unstoppable?
With 3,390 regular season 3-pointers and 618 playoff splashes, Stephen Curry has cemented himself statistically as the top shooter in NBA history. Curry is a member of the NBA's 75th-anniversary team, having been named to nine All-Star and nine All-NBA teams. He has won four championships, two MVPs, two scoring titles, a Finals MVP, a Western Conference Finals MVP and an All-Star Game MVP – he has achieved nearly every accolade possible in the sport.
  • Underrated chronicles the effort it takes for Steph to earn his college degree. Do you think accomplishing goals—being undeniable—in one area of life leads to other areas, as well?

Many people recognize that Steph is a “man of God.” I would like to know in what ways Steph’s Christian faith grounds him. Though he does not explicitly mention prayer, early in the program he notes “I'm constantly trying to find the space just to be able to to survey my life, survey what's going onto let my mind think about, How did I get here

  • What if we were to think about prayer as that space? That place where we can survey our own lives… That time to hit pause to consider how we have gotten to where we are… And where we want to be?! Does that resonate with your understanding of prayer?


  • In addition to his parents, it’s obvious that Coach McKillop is a seminal figure in Steph’s life. His presence, persona and coaching style are worth analysis. What impresses or strikes you about their relationship?

  • Coach McKillop conceded that one reason he decided to recruit Stephen Curry is because “He showed a real emotional toughness that is so rare…” What does emotional toughness mean? What does it look like to you?

  • When Steph accepted the offer from Davidson, his mom said, "Don’t worry coach, we’ll fatten him up.”
    Coach McKillop turned around any said, “Don’t worry about that. We’ll take him as he is.”
    Steph said, “That gave me so much confidence in terms of what I bring to the table.” What feeds your confidence?

  • Steph’s journey is rooted in a longtime understanding that he’s different. He said, “That’s when I realized, I’m different. And the temptation for me at that time was the focus on what I could not do. But I knew I could shoot. That is what I could bring to the team.”

  • Time and again, Steph Curry cites his own realization that he is different. As he shares this understanding, it’s clear that being different is not pejorative. It it not something to be ashamed or that ought to change. Rather, it speaks of self-acceptance. How can we help others do see being different as a gift and a step toward self-empowerment?
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