Stephen Curry and the Curry Brand have officially unveiled his ninth signature sneaker, the Curry Flow 9.
He spoke to The Crossover about his collaboration with Sesame Street, helping renovate NYC’s iconic Rucker Park, interviewing Michael Jordan, being honored as one of the NBA’s 75 best players ever and more.
Sports Illustrated: You have reached nine signature sneakers. How does it feel to reach that number?
Stephen Curry: It’s wild when I actually think about it because being with Under Armour and now Curry Brand and everything that has gone on the last seven to eight years, it’s been an interesting journey. It’s been amazing putting signature products in the marketplace and having people join the journey with me. I learned a lot throughout the whole process. We are nine shoes in and we are your dialing-in on the design aspects, the story lines, the colorways, the aesthetics and trying to keep pushing the envelope. It’s pretty dope. And obviously with Curry Brand, it’s even better so I am hype about it.
SI: You launched the Curry Brand last December. Can you talk about the growth over this period?
SC: It’s been cool. The SC signature line has been with Under Armour for years and we have a lot of equity in the game and the space. It is extremely hard to keep innovating and keep improving year after year. To stand on the shoulders of that journey and to launch the Curry Brand last December and find a balance in the mission of a purpose-driven brand that is also making dope products, I feel we have hit the ground running. It’s crazy that it hasn’t even been a year yet. With the success of the eighth shoe, we are trying to make an impact in Oakland, internationally and across the country. We are putting our flag into the ground on how we are going to do things that are different and the impact that is going to be behind everything. It’s been awesome being able to listen to the community as well as getting kids more involved with sports because I know how much it meant to me and my life and my journey. Also, it’s just building the right team around the brand. That’s the mission we are on right now.
SI: What are some of your favorite design aspects about the Curry 9 Flow?
SC: It is kind of blending the success of the new UA Flow technology we put into the eight. And it was such a positive benefit for performance on the court—just the comfort, the traction and everything that it is designed to do was 10 out of 10. Now looking at the nine and taking the best versions of that flow and adding UA warp in the upper, it has a different aesthetic and it brings more life to it. The stability and everything I need on the court, being locked down and having good cushioning under my feet. We brought that into the nine. It’s a little lower profile, but it has the same weight as the eight, and we did not drift too far in what worked, but we reimagined what the upper looked like and the characters behind that is where the nine differed.
SI: You unveiled the sneaker with a collaboration with Sesame Street. How did this partnership come about?
SC: Everybody knows Sesame Street. You will be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t watched one episode or doesn’t know one character. The similarities in bringing fun and joy to everything that we do is kind of the calling card. In Sesame Street, each of the characters are so unique and there is a diverse element on each of them that stands out. The colorways that we have in the pack are pretty dope and allow some room for creativity to bring those characters to the basketball world and reimagine how they would exist as hoopers. It’s about spreading joy, positivity, inspiration and uplifting people. That is what Sesame Street stands for and I can dig that and [being] able to tell those stories with my shoes is pretty dope.
SI: The Curry Brand is supporting the renovation of Rucker Park in Harlem. Why was it important to give a helping hand with this?
SC: It was an amazing opportunity obviously working with the NBPA and the whole community there. It’s just an opportunity to invest in the culture of basketball. We know how meaningful Rucker Park is to the vision of hooping—whether you are just getting introduced to the game or you are a hoop head, Rucker Park means something to the history of the game. There’s a lot of room for improvement in terms of how it is able to service the community there and hopefully get more kids interested in the game of basketball. It’s not only about being able to support the refurbishment of the court, but the programming and the resources the local leaders there can tap in their community in a more meaningful and impactful way. I am excited about that opportunity. It means a lot.
SI: KD dropped 66 at Rucker. Kobe did his thing. We need you to hit Rucker one of these days. How would you fare against the NYC competition and that crowd?
SC: Hopefully we can find out sooner or later. I personally haven't made an appearance there, but it’s kind of like a rite of passage. It might be a necessity to get out there. I would fare well; I know that, but it’s a matter of getting out there, for sure.
SI: You are trying to take my job. You interviewed Michael Jordan. You are a superstar in your own right, but does something like that still cross your mind like, ‘Damn, I am really interviewing MJ?’
SC: 1,000 percent. He still has that bigger-than-life personality and presence and I don’t think they put it in the clip, but I think it is crazy that I am talking to the GOAT about golf on a golf course, in the middle of Wisconsin, talking about the Ryder Cup. Anytime you have something in common with him outside of basketball like our love for golf and just the competitive nature of it and those types of things, it was cool to hear his perspective. I wouldn’t say starstruck, but he still gives you that vibe like this is MJ.
SI: The NBA will release the 75 best players in history next week. How does it feel to be honored? Do rankings and stuff like that matter to you?
SC: Just being honored, in general. The 50 list came out 25 years ago and you think about the names that are on that list. You think about that guys that have gone on and retired the last 25 years, you see those names on the list and obviously we are competitive and our egos is like, “I should be higher,” but you have to take a step back and acknowledge that is an amazing accomplishment when you think about 75 years of the league, and the best of the best in the world is only going to make that list. That would be a tremendous honor. The motivation is that I still feel like I have a lot left in the tank to keep climbing the ranks and continue doing amazing things on and off the court. Just the journey of staying in the moment and appreciating that and still being hungry for more is kind of a cool position to be in. I don't want to have this vibe like I am cool and I have accomplished everything and I am just chilling and my work is done. I never want that mentality.
SI: You need 142 three-pointers this season to surpass Ray Allen on the all-time three-point list. How special is that moment going to be for you?
SC: That will be a very emotional moment because I respect Ray and Reggie Miller so much in terms of how much they expanded my imagination in what it meant to shoot threes and have range and have that be a huge part of my game. I have talked to Reggie about it since I passed him last year and I am closing in on Ray. I remember the moment when he was calling the game when Ray broke his record and I think that was 10 years ago, and I got goosebumps watching it. It’s crazy that I am going to have the opportunity to have that moment for myself and be at the top of the list where only two other guys in the world know what that feels like. I am hungry and motivated to get that done and it will be a special moment.