In 2001, 13-year-old Stephen Curry's AAU basketball team lost a big game. "We lost badly, and I played worse," he writes on the Players' Tribune. "It really felt like a wake-up call … that I just wasn't good enough."
It was that night, in a Holiday Inn Express in Tennessee, that his mom gave him a memorable piece of advice.
She said something along the lines of: "NO ONE gets to write your story but you," Curry, now 30, recalls. "Not some scouts. Not some tournament. Not these other kids, who might do this better or that better. … None of those people, and none of those things, gets to be the author of your story. Just you. So think real hard about it.
"Take your time. And then you go and write what you want to write. But just know that this story — it's yours."
To this day, "it's the best advice I've ever gotten," Curry writes. "And anytime I've needed it — anytime I've been snubbed, or underrated, or even flat-out disrespected — I've just remembered those words, and I've persevered."
Before establishing himself as one of the greatest basketball players in the world, Curry was overlooked by virtually every big Division I college basketball program, including Virginia Tech, where his dad Dell Curry played before his successful NBA career. He ended up at Davidson College, a small liberal arts school in North Carolina, where the team "shared a practice court with the volleyball team" and was constantly reminded that "we were not playing Big-Time College Hoops, " recalls Curry.
Even after making a splash at Davidson and leading the team on a remarkable March Madness run to the sweet sixteen, NBA draft analysts doubted him when he entered the 2009 draft.
It was during those times in particular when Curry would repeat to himself: "This is no one's story to write but mine. It's no one's story but mine."
Today, the Golden State Warriors star has three NBA championships and two MVP awards under his belt.
Despite his success, "that chip on my shoulder has never gone anywhere," writes Curry. "If anything, it's only become more and more a part of me.
"And I think that's one of the biggest things I've really come to understand about myself over the last 17 years: The way that 'underrated' might start off as just some feeling the world imposes on you. But if you figure out how to harness it? It can become a feeling that you impose on the world."
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