Who’s the best shooter ever? When I was a kid following the Milwaukee Bucks, I thought Brian Winters was the best I had ever seen – beautiful form and deadly in the clutch – but there was also a guy named Rick Barry out west and then along came Larry Bird with the Celtics and Reggie Miller with the Pacers and a whole host of deadly marksmen. In the NBA today, we’re fortunate to be watching some of the best ever as outlined by Kirk Goldsberry on Grantland.com. We all have our favorites, but for me, I’m still fascinated by the Splash Brothers, led by a great shooter in his own right, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson continue to dominate Sports Center, like Curry did last night with his 51 points against Dallas, and amaze all of us with their phenomenal skill. Recently I came across one small element that Curry feels has helped him maintain his perch at the top of today’s shooting charts.
BASKETBALL – All about that brace!
So what makes Curry a truly great shooter? Is it his mechanics? ShotMechanics.com thinks so:
Is it his work ethic?
His confident attitude? Check him out in his regular free throw competition with Kerr:
Honestly, there are plenty of players at every level who have great form and there are also plenty of really good shooters who have unique or questionable form, so it’s not simply a matter of mechanics. And there are plenty of shooters who put in extraordinary time in the gym, so it’s not simply that, and there are many who have the shooter’s mentality to keep on shooting, in any situation (see Kobe Bryant!). To be truly great, though, it boils down to three key ingredients: Consistency, Rhythm, and Confidence. Steph Curry and the other great shooters of today have all three, but for Curry, the foundation for those elements lies in his feet.
The consistency of his footwork in any situation, the shooting rhythm that is an extension of his balance through his release, and the confidence he gets from being able to repeat his movements no matter the range or speed or level of contact have all been strengthened this year by the use of ankle braces. Ankle braces? Yep! Read all about it in Shaun Powell’s story on NBA.com, Superstars Curry, Westbrook Rise Above Injury Concerns and in Stack.com’s The Secret Weapon powering Stephen Curry’s Resurgence. Curry finds stability in those braces, and by using them, he is better able to handle the daily pounding and grinding of the NBA despite not having the great size and strength of many in the NBA.
I became a proponent of ankle braces when I coached women at Marquette. We learned the hard way when one of our All-American post players turned an ankle in a live shootaround the morning of a conference tournament game. She tweaked it enough to require emergency rehab all day and then never fully recovered to make a difference in our loss that night. After that incident, for the next ten years we required all of our players to wear braces on both ankles every time they stepped out on the court. As a result, we had zero games lost to ankle injuries over the next ten years. And now, Curry gives us another compelling aspect of ankle braces. You can even get them on Amazon!
LIFE – Budget Stability
The stability Curry gets from his ankle braces is a metaphor for many aspects of life, but one we can all relate to is stability in our finances. As a parent of a soon-to-be college graduate and with two more in high school, I’m trying to be more intentional about helping them avoid the financial mistakes I made in my youth. The best help I’ve found over the years is from Dave Ramsey, who uses Biblical principles and a common sense approach that can be a bit painful, but makes incredible sense:
Dave’s first step of advice, building an emergency fund, provides the stability we all need in handling our finances. It’s the brace we need to take on the biggest hurdle for all of us, especially young college graduates – debt. We live in a debt culture. We’ve gone from the layaway plans where you actually had to pay for something before you received it to maxing out multiple credit cards and taking out loans for anything you want – and our federal government is the worst example! You can fight that trend, though, with Dave’s ideas. Many churches offer his Financial Peace University courses, but you can also get a lot of inspiration from his books like Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money. My youngest son needs to wear ankle braces for three more years of high school basketball, but all three of my kids are going to go through Dave’s program. They need that stability.
FAITH – True Stability
God wants us to have stability in this life as well, and just as Steph Curry finds consistency, rhythm, and confidence through his ankle braces, we can experience those same qualities in life if we rely on the support God provides in His Word:
” . . . Paul has written to you according to the wisdom given to him. He speaks about these things in all his letters in which there are some matters that are hard to understand. The untaught and unstable twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures. Therefore, dear friends, since you know this in advance, be on your guard, so that you are not led away by the error of lawless people and fall from your own stability.” (2 Peter 3: 15b-17)
We live in an age of doubt, confusing philosophies, and let’s face it, evil – evil that twists and clouds truth, but we don’t have to fall victim to uncertainty and instability. I urge you, friends, to use God’s Word to provide stability in your life – not just occasionally, but throughout every day of your life. Just as Steph Curry and Dave Ramsey rely on stability, you also need to find your stability. And when you find it in God’s Word, he will strengthen you to handle the battles of this life.