(Photo: Stephen Curry on Instagram)
A person with direct knowledge of Stephen Curry’s decision, broken by Shams Charania two days ago, to not join USA Basketball for the Olympics in Tokyo told me yesterday that the primary reason is fatherhood.
”Being away as a father for one-and-a-half months is more important than playing in seven games at the Olympics,” the source said.
We reported last week that at an Eat Learn Play event in Oakland last week, Curry told Ann Killion of the SF Chronicle he was “literally 50-50” on making a decision and a decision was imminent:
My source joked that Curry had already figured out he probably wasn’t joining Team USA “three months ago”, and even Killion admitted yesterday in her column that Curry and his wife Ayesha’s body language that day in Oakland seemed to suggest he wasn’t actually 50/50 at that point.
An Olympic gold medal is the one achievement missing from Curry’s trophy case, but that pursuit apparently has lost its luster. I was also told that the advent of so many NBA stars in the Olympics has affected the Games’ international feel. Curry won gold at the FIBA World Championships in both 2010 in Turkey and 2014 in Spain, when the elite players of the NBA weren’t so prevalent, not just on Team USA but also other national teams from across the globe. With the addition of superstars Kevin Durant, James Harden and Devin Booker, among others, recently announced by Team USA, the Olympics will have more of an NBA feel to it, which just isn’t as appealing to Curry, I’m told.
Draymond Green, however, has committed to Team USA, per Charania again, and Steve Kerr will continue on in his role as assistant coach to Gregg Popovich.
But for Curry, this is not to mention the COVID restrictions imposed on Tokyo 2021. Athletes’ families won’t be allowed — Warriors sideline reporter Kerith Burke recently tweeted she has been relegated to Orlando to report on Team USA’s families watching the Games together there — and there will probably be daily COVID testing protocols.
Most Japanese citizens have not been vaccinated, as the country doesn’t have access to the same resources as Americans do. There are limitations on fans attending events, which would make the usual raucous international crowds Curry witnessed in Turkey and Spain, pale in comparison to the feel of these Olympic basketball matches all to be held in Saitama, a thirty-minute drive north of Tokyo.
As Killion wrote yesterday, athletes won’t even be able to attend other athletes’ events, which is usually a part of the grander experience of playing for USA Basketball. Picture LeBron James sneaking into Usain Bolt’s 100-meter dash at London 2012, which has been well-documented. Remember when Klay Thompson bonded with the likes of DeMarcus Cousins and DeMar DeRozan on a trip up to the Christ the Redeemer statue at Rio 2016? None of that is happening at Tokyo 2021.
The good news for all parties involved is, there was no mention of Curry’s tailbone, so especially with all the happy photos from Ayesha on Instagram of the couple vacationing in spots like Cancun and Big Sur right after the season ended, we can safely assume Steph has healed up a bit from that injury.
And Curry’s next shot at Olympic gold isn’t that far away, either. Paris 2024 is only three years away, when he’ll “only” be 36.
Sources have also revealed to me that Curry has begun his off-season workouts, and I’ll even have a snippet of video to share in a forthcoming report on our YouTube channel.
The next question is, will he participate in the American Century Championship, a pro-am golf tournament held every July in South Lake Tahoe, at which he’s been a mainstay?
The responses I’ve gotten from his camp have ranged from “no clue” to “TBD” to no reply, so I’m going to go ahead and guess he’ll be making that decision based on his off-season basketball workout trajectory coming up, and how he feels. As far as golf, all indications are that he looks and feels great swinging a golf club. Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama even exclaimed, “Wow,” as Curry teed off in front of him during an exhibition round at The Memorial at Muirfield Village, Ohio earlier this month.
Steph has been filmed teeing off on other golf courses while on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, as well as in San Diego while dropping by to check out the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines last week — yes, we will have that footage in our next Curry video on YouTube.
In related news, Curry recently revealed he will not pursue a professional golf career after his basketball playing days are over:
Click here for more of Steph’s golf exploits: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLszalip37vKLE6oUi--KPhd6LasDvze6P