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I get more nervous watching than playing.
I went to see him play.
I'm very fond of Steph Curry's game and I'm very fond of Warriors too.
And I got really anxious watching.
Because that was my first time watching in the court,
I was afraid that people would say that I brought bad luck. I didn't want to jinx it.
“Neymar, don't come back!”
You got home city advantage, so you go first.
The morning of your first NBA Finals practice,
I still have a hard time articulating what the difference is.
There is just a different vibe in the air.
There is a different anxiousness and adrenaline.
You know you're so close to your ultimate goal
that everything just kind of slows down a little bit.
The chaos around practice, around the travel,
around the actual lead-up to the game is like, 100 times crazier
than it is during the regular season, and even the rest of the playoffs.
But it just does something to your focus,
because you know how real that moment is,
and everything is just heightened to a whole other level that …
I dream about it all the time, to be honest with you.
Like once you get that first taste of it,
like every other game is really hard to kind of get that excited about,
because you already tasted the ultimate adrenaline rush
of playing in the NBA Finals and winning a championship.
So, that's the best way to explain it: Everything just slows down,
but it's just — it's like a laser focus that you tap into
that you never really thought was possible.
There is this vibe of a Champions League final.
You have to be focused.
It is different from any other game.
When I played my first Champions League final,
I remember that I was really anxious before the match.
But after the game starts you relax because you are focused.
Because you know what you want and you are there to get it.
So it's all natural.
What you said about like, it's football as usual,
as basketball, it's the same field, it's the same ball.
But it's the same for me on a basketball court.
But yeah, there's something that it does to you leading up to it,
that you kind of — you almost psych yourself out,
to where you forget like, all it is I just have to put that ball in the basket,
do what I do every single day.
When you play against greatness and you play against people that push you,
or have what you have before, and you chase them,
you almost get consumed by it.
Because you know, one, how hard it is, obviously, to reach the top,
and the amount of work that you put into it.
You always try to find a little bit of edge,
whether it's something mental or something physical,
that you can use to your advantage to kind of …
stay on their heels until you get there.
And for me, I was actually watching my first game
I played against LeBron, my rookie year, and thinking like —
from that moment to 2015 when we played them in the NBA Championship,
or in the NBA Finals, that first time like — I just wanted to be great,
because I saw greatness ahead of me.
And when you play against him, you get exposed, you learn,
you keep growing, you fail, you keep growing.
And eventually, for me, we get to the top.
And that journey like, looking back, I think when I'm done with my whole career,
and I look back at like that seven-year window
to get to my first championship, I'll appreciate that entire journey
because it is that hard to do what we do
at the highest level every single night.
And you just appreciate that journey, for sure.
Facing Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – and I played with Messi,
who is, for me, one of the greatest footballers of all time,
and he is my idol in football.
With Messi, I learned every day, whether during our practice,
or playing with him, or just watching him play.
And that made me stronger and it increased my capacity on the field
because I kept learning a lot from him.
As for Cristiano Ronaldo, he is a monster.
Facing him is a pleasure and an honor, but we have to be more prepared.
He is one of the greatest in football so you get smarter, you get alert,
but at the same time you learn a lot, too.
So, they are two of the big guys that I can relate to,
because I want to learn, I want more, I want to win, I want more trophies,
score more goals, so I keep learning from them every day.
The coolest thing is like now that I've learned a little bit
about how to … elevate my level.
Like, they bring out the best out of you.
And you feel like, when you get to that level where they respect you
and they see you as a threat, you bring the best out of them.
And that back-and-forth is why we play.
That's why we do what we do.
And that part of it … I can really truly appreciate,
again, all the work that, you know,
if you see some of the behind-the-scenes what they do to be different.
And you can pick and you can choose and learn some stuff,
but you stay true to yourself and you end up where you want to be.
That's vibes.
That's worth two letters for me.
I don't know the specific day, but it was the summer of 2012.
I just had my second surgery on my ankle.
And I was sitting on like this makeshift couch
in my living room, in Charlotte.
It was just me and my wife in the room.
And I don't think she'd ever heard me say like,
never heard me doubt myself or doubt the process of coming back from an injury,
because I'm such an optimistic person, I always see the glass half full.
But in that moment, it really tested my mental strength
to get through the dog days of a second summer of rehab,
and not really know where the end was going to be.
You always wonder, again like what we just talked about it —
you're chasing greatness, you want to be great,
but the one thing I couldn't control was my health, in terms of my ankles.
And she gave me that one line of like, “Don't forget who you are.”
That kind of kept me focused on that mission.
And two years later, or almost three years later,
I'm back on the court winning the championship.
So that moment right there was kind of like the lowest of lows,
and it was kind of only up from there.
I have two moments.
The first when I injured my back during the World Cup.
I was living a dream, playing in a World Cup,
and then it was over because I got injured.
For me it was like the end of everything.
And I asked myself, Am I ever going to be back on the field?
And my family and my friends were really important for me at that moment.
They helped me to get up again. And they helped me to bounce back.
The other moment happened this year, after my first surgery.
It was in my foot.
It was close to the 2018 FIFA World Cup,
I did not see myself playing, and my family, my girlfriend
and my friends stayed with me.
And they made me believe in my dream: I would be playing in a World Cup again.
These two moments are important to me.
My oldest is six, three, and then two months old.
- Two months. - Yeah.
- So every three years. - Every three years.
We're done now. Every three years, we're done.
Every three years, but yeah, two girls and a boy, so, I'm good.
I'm blessed. I'm happy.
I tell you, as dads you have probably countless stories.
Every day there is something funny.
The funniest story, I guess, that's the most consistent even to this day
with my oldest daughter, Riley — she's six now —
she had a thing where, when she saw me in regular clothes,
she called me either daddy or Stephen.
Or, sorry, she called me daddy.
But then when I put the jersey on I was always Stephen Curry,
number 30.
There's a clear distinction between me wearing a jersey and playing basketball
versus me with just in my street clothes or at the house.
And she called me by different names.
And that was the point where I realized like, they notice everything about you.
You can't sneak anything by them.
So for her to kind of differentiate …
I only say this as like a fan's perspective, but almost just like that Warrior jersey,
with number 30, that's Stephen Curry,
and he's a different character, a different person than Daddy is.
My son was at school with his friends and a TV ad was going on.
If I'm not mistaken, it was an ad for Brazil's match.
And then I was on TV.
So my son said, “That's my dad.” And then one of his friends said,
“No, that's not your dad.” And my son, “Yes, he is my dad.”
And my son's friend, “No, Neymar can't be your dad.”
So, a little argument started between them.
And it was taken to their teacher... and the teacher talked to them.
And my son was a bit sad because no one believed I was his dad.
How many kids are probably saying the same thing in their schools:
“My dad? Oh, my dad is Neymar.”
Yes, sure it is.
Those two.
And if you put it through somebody's legs, it's over.
Everybody goes crazy.
In football we have the “carretilha.”
My instincts in basketball….
The funniest guy in our locker room is Klay Thompson, for sure.
I don't think he knows it, though — that's the funny part.
So he has this untapped wealth of knowledge somewhere in the back here,
where he'll just spit like this most random knowledge of like,
how many gallons Lake Tahoe holds or … just something random.
But it wasn't a story that made me laugh
or something he said that made me laugh.
It was kind of the scenario around him scoring ...
was it 60 points in three quarters two years ago?
We always joked because Klay is kind of late to everything.
He's late to practice sometimes.
He'll be late to shootaround and whatnot.
This particular day of practice before that game he missed the entire practice.
He didn't show up, nobody could reach him.
He didn't even come in late.
Like he just didn't show up the entire practice.
So the next day you're worried about where his mental space is,
and the guy goes out and reads his newspaper before the game,
like he always does, and goes out and scores 60 in three quarters
the day after he misses a practice.
So little stuff like that just makes you laugh
because you have no idea what Klay was going to show up.
But he can surprise you at any moment with a game like that,
or some a random fact that only like Google would know.
So it was pretty funny.
- In training… - Yeah, exactly.
- In the game… - He just, doesn't even show up,
sleeps through practice, next day 60, in three quarters.
That's how it goes with Klay.
The funniest guy is Daniel Alves.
Alves is an amazing guy.
I like when he posts a video singing.
The way he goes in the locker room, he jokes with everybody,
he always keeps our morale up, he has a good energy.
He gives nicknames to everybody.
So, he always has a different story to tell,
but what we love the most is when he posts a video on Instagram,
he starts singing.
We laugh a lot and we love when he does that.
- His nickname is “Good Crazy.” - Good Crazy.
You want that crazy around,
you need those types of people in the locker room.
It's a long season, so you gotta have …
gotta have some jokes and some good vibes.
- That's funny, though. - Yeah, it's funny.
When I first met Didi.
Didi from 'Os Trapalhões'.
The second was Michael Jordan. And he was the third one.
With him I was really shaking … not today.
Today I was more relaxed.
But when I first met him at the Warriors locker room. It was something….
He said he only met three people that made him shake.
Like shake.
One is a comedian in Brazil, who was really famous when we were growing up, Didi.
The second was Jordan, and the third was you.
- Come on, man. - Really.
In the locker room, Warriors.
You played it off nice, though. I didn't know.
You seemed — my man, that's big time, brother.
- Endidi? - Didi?
I'm gonna look Didi up.
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Stephen Curry and Neymar Talk Fatherhood, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and What Defines Greatness

177 Folder Collection
James published on November 4, 2018
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