06 - 21
August 2016
4 Stephen CURRY (USA)
to read

Curry just months away from making Olympic bow

OAKLAND (2016 Rio Olympics) - Stephen Curry is making history with the Golden State Warriors, who at the start of their NBA title defense have reeled off a record 22 wins in as many games.

Last season's MVP also plays for another team. Curry wears the red, white and blue of the United States. He has been a part of the USA's last two FIBA Basketball World Cup-winning sides, including in 2014 in Spain.

In August, Curry will become an Olympian for the first time. Coach Mike Krzyzewski and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo will not hand out invitations to training camp for some time but it's a safe bet that Curry will get one. He is all but certain to make the Olympic squad.

I have talked to Coach K, Mr Colangelo, Sean Ford - all of the guys that are a part of USA Basketball. I'm trying to let it be known that I want to play. I've been on two World Championship teams before and feel like I've gotten better and can help the team and I'm looking forward to it. - Curry

Stephen Curry (USA) at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup

Since he last played for the national team in Spain, much has happened with the program. USA Basketball announced in October that Colangelo is to continue as managing director of the men's national team through the 2020, and San Antonio Spurs boss Gregg Popovich is to succeed Krzyzewski as head coach.

After the Rio Olympics, Krzyzewski will take on a special advisor role with Colangelo and the national team. He will have been at the helm of the USA for more than a decade when he leaves the bench.

Curry envisions continued success with Popovich, who has coached the Spurs to five NBA titles since the 1999 season.

"I think that's a pretty good choice," he said to FIBA.com of Popovich's appointment. "He's a guy that's won. He just breeds success with anything he touches so I'm sure the level of expectation that Coach K has established with the teams that he has put together will continue, so we can continue that dominance that we've had.

"Popovich, I know, does a great job of handling all sorts of personalities, skill sets and putting a team together."

Curry believes the transition will be seamless, although Popovich will have his own ideas about how the USA should play.

"I'm sure it will be different in certain respects with the different personalities (of Krzyzewski and Popovich) and they have different philosophies," Curry said. "When it comes to putting together a national team, I'm pretty sure there is a formula to it. They figured it out. Gregg Popovich will study what has made it successful in years past and try to make it better."

The USA exited at the Quarter-Final stage of the 2002 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Indianapolis and won the Bronze Medal Game at 2004 Olympics (Popovich was an assistant coach on that team), and the 2006 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Since then, the Americans have finished top of the podium at every event they have taken part in.

Kobe Bryant, a gold medal winner with the USA at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, recently made it official that this is to be his final season in the NBA. However, he wants his last competitive games to be with the USA in Rio.

While he has had a tough season so far, Bryant has shown flashes of brilliance. He had 31 points in a win over the Washington Wizards on 2 December.

Bryant was not in the USA's young and very good FIBA Basketball World Cup-winning squad.

I'd like to see the young guys (from 2014) rewarded but Kobe, if he's healthy and playing like he did against Washington, it would be a tough decision either way. He definitely has put a lot of equity into Team USA. If he's on the team, I'm sure he'll help us. That's up to Coach K and Mr Colangelo to figure out the right roster but I don't think you can go wrong putting Kobe on the team. - Curry on Bryant

Curry has a very good idea of what the Olympics will be like.

"It's a crazy good atmosphere, a lot of pride representing your country," he said. "Representing your country at a World Championship is amazing, obviously, and we won two gold medals doing that. But I think it's just something different at the Olympics with all the other athletes."

There are two things he is specifically looking forward to doing in Rio.

"The Opening Ceremony, which I know they go all out for, and get to walk out there with the entire USA team, would be pretty special," Curry said, "and hopefully to stand on the podium with the national anthem playing. That's what we'd be playing for."