A few hours prior to the 65th NBA All-Star Game this past Sunday, Stephen Curry hosted SLAM and some of his corporate partners at a swanky downtown Toronto restaurant for an intimate brunch.
The occasion was to promote Slyce, a new social media platform currently available in the App Store for all iOS devices. The MVP is a co-founder and board member of the company—whose stated goal is to offer influencers an efficient communications channel, fans with authentic interactions and brands with frequent and measurable engagement—working closely with a former college teammate and roommate from Davidson and two other co-founders.
Below is a snippet of our exclusive conversation with Chef Curry before we broke bread. Much more to come in an upcoming issue of SLAM.
SLAM: How’s All-Star Weekend going for you?
Stephen Curry: Pretty good, pretty crazy. Think I’ve got about 10 hours of sleep total, in the three nights I’ve been here. But there’s no real complaining if selected to be an All-Star, given all the different opportunities and events you can go to, especially when it comes to all my sponsors that support me throughout the year. It’s so much fun. Toronto is a really cool place to have it. I know this is their first time. People here love the game; it’s growing so much in Canada. You can kinda feel that.
SLAM: You sorta grew up here, right?
SC: Yeah, I spent three years here. [Dell Curry played for the Raptors from 2000-2002.—Ed.]
SLAM: So then you’re not complaining about this cold weather?
SC: It was never this cold—it was maybe some snow on the ground, but never this freezing.
SLAM: I recently read that you used to play one-on-one against Vince Carter when he played for the Raptors, and that he never let you win. What kind of impact did that have on you as a young kid?
SC: I mean, anytime a guy like that—in the middle of Vinsanity—would give a kid the time of day…I was his teammate’s kid, but I feel like he treated me the same as he would any other kid that came in the gym. [I was] trying to show him up with my crossover move at 11 years old. He taught me great lessons. I didn’t know at that time I would become an NBA player, an All-Star and all that kinda stuff. But I remember how he treated me, and how much fun he had playing one-on-one for five, ten minutes after they practiced. It showed the humanity of an NBA player and the influence they can have. That rubbed off on me in a great way.
SLAM: And you do that yourself now—I’ve seen you give the ball to kids on the court and let them shoot.
SC: Yeah, you never know, that little moment of connection goes a long way, I think. You don’t know how impactful that can be for that kid. NBA players talking to them, having fun with them can inspire a lot of confidence.
SLAM: Obviously you grew up around the NBA with your father being a player—does it ever feel normal to be an NBA superstar for you? Are you used to it, being perhaps the face of the League now, winning the MVP and a title?
SC: I’m comfortable knowing this is my job, what I do to support my family, and I know the ins-and-outs of how I’m gonna handle my career. Thing I’ve noticed the last few years is that each season is different: from the highs of winning a Championship to the depths of rehabbing from surgeries and injures. Every year is different. Something you can learn from as you go through it. When we’re winning, and doing what we’re doing now, it’s still very surreal to me. Like I said, I’ve been around the League since I was born basically, and I’ve seen a bunch of my dad’s teammates—Vince, Muggsy Bogues—all the guys he used to play against as well, I never thought I’d be one of those guys.
SLAM: So, you didn’t think when you were a kid, that you were gonna be an MVP?
SC: I dreamed about it. And I encourage every kid to dream, but you never know what’s gonna happen. You just gotta try to put everything you have into it.
SLAM: You came back this season a noticeably better player. You can see it through the numbers, and simply watching you play. Do you have a plan each offseason of what to work on? Do you see yourself having any weaknesses?
SC: Oh, yeah! Three years ago, I was never able to drive right or do anything going to my right hand; I was left-hand dominant. So, for two summers, that’s all I worked on pretty much: how can I be more explosive going to my right, or how can I be more efficient with my dribble going to the right? If you gave me a one-on-one opportunity, 99 percent of the time I was going left. I feel comfortable now giving away that scouting report, because I think I’ve opened up other options. Little stuff like that helps me become a better player. Last summer, it was about just creating space. Being efficient with my dribble, in tight spaces, and creating enough separation to get my shot off. The right balance, too, to make whatever move to get into my shot. Being able to go from here to there in one step [Curry points to a row of liquor bottles behind us] goes a long way, especially in the Playoffs. Next year, I might add post moves—but I gotta gain weight, though.
SLAM: I gotta ask, with the Warriors chasing the Bulls’ 72-win record: is that something that’s more for us media people to get excited about?
SC: Right now, it is. But in about a month, if we’re still on pace, we’ll get excited about it.
SLAM: Tell me about this new company Slyce that you’re a part of. I don’t know anything about it.
SC: It’s a new social media platform that helps athletes and influencers from all different genres of life, to better and more uniquely engage their fans, more efficiently engage their fans. It’s a new millenial culture, everybody’s on their phones, using traditional social media platforms to help build their brands—there’s a huge awareness of the potential and power of that, so to help influences, especially athletes, to be able to tell unique stories, have original content that allows us to share any kind of message we want to on a day-to-day basis. Make it a more efficient process for us to engage with our fans. I know that’s a desire of a lot of guys who are trying to build their brand on and off the court.
SLAM: So are you targeting athletes or celebrities in general?
SC: Targeting athletes to begin with; celebrities are definitely being pitched to as well. But any influencer with a following will be able to use the app and find it very beneficial for ’em. It’s a crazy hectic society we live in, so any way that you can things more efficient—something that I know people are passionate about—then I think it will be a success.
SLAM: How long has it been around?
SC: The idea has been going on for about two years now. Me and the CEO, Bryant Barr, went to Davidson together. So, he was a teammate of mine and roommate for three years. He’s at Stanford for business school, finishing up in a month. He’s been following my career, and how I’ve used social media to build my brand, and trying to find the space that we’re in now based on what he saw was my approach to traditional social media platforms and how I use them and what I got out of it.
SLAM: It makes sense, given where you live and work.
SC: Exactly. 100 Percent. Obviously, Silicon Valley is the place to be. From influencers to fans to brands, the connection is key. We’re trying to strengthen those bonds and make them less commercial, and more creative.
SLAM: Were you inspired by your teammate Andre Iguodala? Because I know he’s heavy into tech.
SC: He’s heavy into technology, investing and networking. I was interested in the social media space since college, basically. When it comes to how sophisticated that journey is—like you said all the resources we have in Silicon Valley—I’m definitely motivated to take advantage of that, and try to do it the right way.
Marcel Mutoni is the News Editor at SLAM. Follow him on Twitter @marcel_mutoni.
Images via Getty