Almost parallel in ascension amongst their respective ranks, Stephen Curry and Under Armour's emergence in athletics is an aspiring example of a commitment to excellence, no matter what insurmountable odds, or in Curry's case, physical limitations, fuel the naysayers.

Coming off the heels of an NBA Finals loss, Golden State's Golden Boy looks to take a note out of the Jordan playbook and allow revenge to seep into a formula that, until this past June, was mostly comprised of a joyous approach to team basketball.

In anticipation of the new season, Under Amour graciously invited us on a trip to the Bay Area for some inside perspective into all of the moving parts that keep the reigning unanimous NBA MVP at the peak of his game.

Mind over Matter

Conditioning isn't only of the body, but also the mind. The morning after witnessing the new look Warriors in their final pre-season game at Oracle, our media group gathered at Equinox Gym in downtown San Francisco for a training session courtesy of Steph's long-time personal trainer and owner of Accelerate Basketball Training, Brandon Payne.

On paper, taking a group of journalists who haven't participated in competitive sports since high school makes for a decent comedy skit, and aside from all the gaffes during a series of intense skills challenges, one thing quickly became clear: Steph is as special as they come because of his mental preparation.

Encompassing a program and regimen designed to enhance Curry's mental process, Brandon and his team rely on an expertly-built light system and ever-changing drills that improve the brain's ability to process multiple actions at one time, all while wearing a mask that controls oxygen to simulate live game action (some of this can be seen in Under Armour's new commercial spot for the Curry 3, below).

For good reason we didn't go through a full workout but, after a couple of hours spent on the court, there was a newfound respect for the commitment athletes like Steph make to excel in a sport where only a fraction separates a great athlete from a superstar.

Championing the Youth

Still slightly sore from a trio of pick up games after an eye-opening training session, we took a trip to a fan installation that re-affirmed the love the Bay Area has for its adopted hometown hero. Anchored by a competition featuring some of the city's finest youth basketball players, both Champs Sports and Under Armour put on a showcase featuring a three-point contest, 3-on-3 tournament, and interactive stations for Bay area fans both young and old, revolving around the launch of the Curry 3.

Present for the crowning of the tournament's winner, Curry's presence caused a ruckus and drove a crowd of hundreds, including the competing hoopers, into an all-out celebration anchored by a performance from French Montana that found Curry cheerfully surrounded by kids, fans, and even media, with no bodyguards in site. A memorable affair.

Approaching a New Season

During an intimate conversation that was moderated by Oakland's own Sway Calloway, we sat down with Steph to discuss the sportswear brand's latest development in basketball footwear, the Curry 3. Highlighted by questions about colorways and design features, we took a moment to ask Steph for some personal insight into his approach to this season and balance on and off the court.

Luis Ruano: When you watch dubs basketball, there's this joy about the way the team plays that's infectious and makes you not want to turn away. Coming off a tough Finals loss at home, how do you approach this upcoming season, is the joy of team basketball still the driving force, or is redemption now a factor for you?

Stephen Curry: I don’t think I’ll ever get the memory of the finals out of my head, because it happened, and I felt every single emotion. I think it's a good thing that it will live there [in my head], because its a motivator. If you watched us play in the pre-season, obviously it's a different team, but the way that we’re playing, we understand the process of getting to the finals and what all goes into it. Every year is different.

Our first title run was an unbelievable year and it's something I won’t ever forget. Last year was a totally different process because of the circus around us with the chase for 73 wins and the pressure of trying to repeat. This year there’s different dynamics at play and the one thing that’s the most consistent is what you feel when you step foot on the floor. Like you said, there’s a joy to the game, there’s a passion to the game. We enjoy what we do, that’s who I am myself as a leader and who we are as a team. We want to get back to that level, but we don’t want to rush the process because that’s not guaranteed every single year.

LR: You've been around the NBA since you were a kid and undoubtedly picked up a lot of basketball skills and insight over the years, but what's something that you learned from all those professional players growing up that you translate to your everyday life off the court?

SC: There’s a crazy amount of different personalities in the locker room. Growing up, watching my dad play, I was lucky enough to be in the locker room and see how they [the players] interacted. Everybody has a role and everybody has a way of going about it. There's a difference between it being a job and the joy of playing basketball. To provide for your family, you have to find a way to blend that.

There are pressures, and there are decisions that are made, but at the end of the day, we’re all trying to win and take advantage of every moment we have in our careers because I’m talking about year eight right now and it's crazy to think about how fast this thing goes by.

Obviously basketball opens up a lot of doors off the court. The last three or four years I've really tried to take advantage of that, business-wise, but at the end of the day this thing can be over really, really quick, so you gotta give it all you got.

Third Time's a Charm

Vegas odds, along with just about every other NBA expert's pick, agree that this upcoming season's finals — barring a major injury or catastrophic collapse — are set in stone. As we discussed the design of Under Amour's third signature shoe for Stephen Curry, he spoke about the importance of several key characteristics in this year's design compared to its two previous iterations.

Comfort - "This is by far the most comfortable shoe I've put on, on the court, and I'm not just saying that because it has my name on it. We had a meeting in LA, in October of last year, and they [designers Dave Dombrow and Kort Neumann] brought in the first prototype of the Curry 3. I got to put it on my feet for the first time and I didn't really know where it would end up design-wise, but I was walking around the JW Marriot in LA for like five minutes, just looking at my feet, like "Wow, I'm walking on a cloud right now." That just talks about how much better we're getting. From a product stand point, ever since I've been playing in it, day one of training camp and pre-season, the most highlighted feature on the shoe for me is just how comfortable they are."

Favorite Feature - "The heel piece which has my logo on it and my favorite mantra and bible verse, "I can do all things." It's something I've been writing on my shoes since freshman year of college at Davidson and to have Under Armour and myself to allow that to live on a shoe and be a part of who I am and everybody who wears that shoe can see that, I think that's very powerful. That's where my eyes are drawn every time I look at the Curry 3. That is a special part of it, for sure."

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The Under Armour Curry 3 is now available through Underarmour.com, as well as select Under Armour stockists worldwide.

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