Steve Kerr on Steph Curry and Roger Federer: A Sense of Joy, a Zest for Life

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Bill Simons

Steph Curry and Roger Federer are superstars in very different sports. Yet, they both have a beauty and athletic grace that links them. 

They share a supreme confidence and a flow that’s nothing short of poetic. There’s a similarity in their sublime footwork and quick, gorgeous points of release. They’re masters who are pretty and make it look easy. They seem to float. Still, they are street-fighting men. 

They can turn it on at any moment. In full flight they simply astound. There’s little their foes can do to subdue their force. And, yes, they work hard at their trades.

Today, Golden State Warrior coach Steve Kerr was asked about Steph and what jumps out in terms of his day-to-day conditioning and why he’s always in great shape.

Kerr replied, “Just the consistency of his routine – it’s like a metronome every day. It’s exactly the same. He is in the training room, he is in the weight room, he’s on the court. It’s clockwork, but there’s also a sense of joy and energy within that work. He enjoys it so much, he loves the process. 

“I think that’s one of the things that ties all great athletes together. I’m talking about the superstar athletes, the Roger Federers of the world, the Steph Currys of the world. There’s a routine that is not only super disciplined and is really enjoyed each day. 

“There is a passion that comes with it, and that’s what sustains it over time. And when you love something like those guys do, you work at it and you get better and you just keep going…

“We actually met Federer a few years ago in China when we played in Shanghai, and he came and spoke to our locker room and Draymond [Green] asked him, ‘How have you been doing this for 20 years?’ And his answer was just simple, yet profound. 

“He said, ‘I just love my daily ritual. I get up and make my kids breakfast, drop them off at school, go train, and I’ve figured out the right training methods to keep me in the best position at my age. I love to compete, but every single day I put my head on my pillow [and] at the end of the day. I just think, what a great day.’

“So I think of Stef a lot when I think of that story from Roger Federer. A very similar sort of zest for life, and just a joy for the process.”

When asked about Kerr’s comments, Curry said, “I’ve got to get a list of all the guys he’s compared me to: [Former Spurs star] Tim Duncan, Roger Federer.” He added that his joy and passion “goes back to how I started in the game, back when I was playing AAU back in the day. I love to work. You kind of get lost in the sessions you have on the court in practice…in the weight room, wherever it is, because you know it’s going to lead to you being as prepared as possible for those games. [I] try to have as much fun as possible… 

“[There are] days you are tired…but it’s all built on my approach from the time I started, and just trying to carry that every year for as long as I can…win, lose, whatever it is, no matter how you play, you have to keep coming back to the well to keep sharpening the toolkit and finding ways to evolve your game. 

“That is the hardest part of what we do. Going out there on the floor is more reactive and you’re kind of just living in the competition. But the hardest part…is the grind of the year-long prep that it takes to be great at this level.”

By the way, as a boy, Federer loved basketball. He religiously listened to the weekly NBA broadcast that aired in Switzerland and had a huge Michael Jordan poster in his room. Years ago the two met at the US Open and spoke at length. Just two weeks ago, Miami Heat fan Coco Gauff confided that Draymond was her favorite NBA player.

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