Stephen Curry is arguably the greatest basketball player alive.
The Golden State Warriors' point guard earned the most valuable player award and the NBA championship last season, and this year he and the Warriors are doing even better. Curry — standing 6 feet 3 inches — has become the new face of the NBA thanks to his devastating jump shot, un-guardable crossover, and killer dance moves.
Most recently, Curry helped launch Degree Deodorant's MotionSense Lab, a new site that spotlights biometric data in performers, athletes, and fans.
The lab is a partnership between Degree and athletic-analytics firm Lightwave, which uses biometric data to generate usable insights. Using wireless sensors, MotionSense Lab tracked Curry's movement, heart rate, and other biometrics while executing basketball moves. The lab found that Curry's dribble has the g-force of a rocket launch, among other things.
Tech Insider met up with Curry to talk about the MotionSense Lab, his approach to the game, and any advice he has for buddy Cam Newton before he tries to complete an MVP-and-championship season, too.
Check out the full interview below:
TECH INSIDER: What's the craziest thing you learned through Degree and MotionSense?
STEPHEN CURRY: I learned how quickly I actually released my shot off the dribble. I know that's something I work on, and really use in games, but I didn't know exactly how quick it was, down to like the millisecond. I try not to think about it during games, so I don't clog my mind. To know how fast it actually happens gives me a little leg up, I think.
TI: What does your daily routine look like? How many shots do you take per day?
SC: It depends on the situation and the day. If it's a normal practice, I'll get up 300 shots. During the summer, you up that to about 500 when I'm working on my game, trying to get better. During the season, it's more just maintenance and trying to fine-tune everything. You don't want to exhaust yourself, so I dial it back a little bit.
TI: What's your daily diet? How closely do you attend to that?
SC: Pretty closely. With how much we run during games, and how many games we play, I need as many calories as I can get. It's not a very strict diet at all, but the more years I go, the more experience I have, the more that nutrition and eating the right foods is important for recovery and things like that. So I try to study that more, but I'm pretty much on the "eat whatever you can diet," just to get those calories in, so I can maintain myself throughout the season. But I'm getting a lot smarter with it now.
TI: With all of the travel and early mornings, are you a coffee drinker?
SC: Just coffee when I need it. I stay away from it for the most part, but certain mornings you need a little boost. I might have a cup or two, but I'm not a daily coffee guy at all, or energy drinks or anything like that.
TI: A few months ago you tweeted about a toilet your wife got you and how it improved your game. What is that toilet and is it still magic?
SC: It is amazing. Just got it installed like two weeks ago. I actually have a video on my phone of me walking up to it and welcoming me to the throne. It's an automated deal, I actually found out about it in Asia. One of my trips this past summer, which is pretty cool.
TI: Are you still into sensory-deprivation tanks? How do those help?
SC: I'm definitely into — we call 'em "floats." There are a lot of different benefits to it. Obviously with the Epsom salts and magnesium that are in those tanks, they're helpful with recovery and relaxing your muscles and things like that. And also, the sensory-deprivation aspect of it. It's one of the only places where you can really get unplugged from all the noise and distractions that goes on with daily life.
I spend about and hour, hour and a half in the pods, probably once every two weeks or so. It helps you recharge and refresh and allows you to just be you and your thoughts for an hour, which is obviously hard to come by in our fast-paced society. It's fun.
TI: How do data and analytics shape the Warriors' gameplay and how you play?
SC: I'm very conscious of data and analytics, and understanding how our body works and different loads that we put on it throughout the course of games and practices. It helps you make adjustments if you need to, helps you be smarter about your workouts, and I think it protects you from injuries to not over-exert yourself.
For us as a team, we aren't overloaded with data, but knowing just how far we run during games, how much we change direction, things like that, it allows your practice, workouts, and routines to become smarter, more catered to what you actually do on the floor during games, as opposed to going blindly into it, which I think gives us a leg up on the competition.
TI: I love this phrase from your trainer, Brandon Payne: "neurocognitive efficiency." What is that? How do you train for it?
SC: In my terms, "neurocognitive efficiency" is being able to make smarter, faster decisions on the floor. We overload our sensory system, nervous system, in our training with different lights. There are little beams that we have on the wall, and I'll be doing dribble moves and reading the lights that are associated with different moves. Different colors mean to do a different move, and you have to make that decision in a split second and still have control of the ball.
In a game, there are so many different variables that are thrown at you — the defense, where your teammates are, how fast your body's moving, and you have to be in control of all those decisions. So we overload in our workouts so that the game slows down in real life. It helps you become a smarter basketball player.
TI: Have you found results from that? Do you feel a difference?
SC: Definitely feel a difference. I think my ball handling has become a lot crisper, my decision-making has become a lot better, and I feel more creative on the floor. I feel like the game is definitely slowing down, so I can make better moves and have more control over my space out there.
Mike Ehrmann / Getty
TI: What's going through your head when you're going to take a shot that could decide a game?
SC: What goes through my head when I'm going to take a game-winning shot is ... I better make it. Don't be afraid of the moment. I'm pretty confident that whatever shot I'm going to take in that situation is a shot that I've taken many times in practice. So you let the muscle memory and the repetition of what I do take over. And have ultimate confidence in making that shot.
TI: Are you ever afraid of anything?
SC: On the court, I'm not afraid of anything. I try to have confidence and have a belief in myself. The only thing I'm probably afraid of is having too many turnovers. I have a bet with my mom that involves a little money, and if I have too many turnovers, she gets in my pocket. I'm afraid of that for sure.
SC: I would tell him, just enjoy the moment. He's a quarterback leading a team into the Super Bowl for the first time, so to enjoy the atmosphere, enjoy the process of preparing for a game like that. But when you get out in the field, it's just like any other game. You want to be the same player, the same team that has gotten them to that point. I don't think you have to do anything special. Just be yourself and allow all the time you put in that take over and get the job done.
TI: How do you prepare for a championship?
SC: It starts really at the beginning of a season. How you come into the season with your mindset, your sense of focus. And every step of the way I think you learn something that makes you a better player, and all those lessons really come out when it matters the most in a championship. You obviously have your routines that you rely on, then you go out and play and have fun. For us in basketball, we have a seven-game series, so you have time to adjust if you need to. It's a fun experience to go through, and one that I'll remember for a long time.
Jason Miller / Getty