Book Review: Golden by Marcus Thompson II

Stephen Curry’s success didn’t happen overnight.  It just seems like it.

Curry’s rise to superstardom is the focus of a new book entitled Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry by Marcus Thompson II.  Thompson is a local beat writer, covering Curry’s Golden State Warriors for ten years, so who better to write about him than the man who covered him his entire professional career?  Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

For any hardcore basketball fan, Curry’s success is captivating.  Last year, when I found out he was playing in Orlando, I drove 100 miles to splurge on a ticket.  He scored 51 that night.  I wasn’t the only one in the arena there to see him either.  How many athlete these days would you say that for?

I’ve seen Michael, Magic, Larry and even this year Russell Westbrook do insane things with a basketball.  I’m not sure I’ve seen any athlete do what Steph Curry did in 2016.

He made ridiculous shots seem effortless.  He made shots you’d shake your head at at a ridiculously high percentage.

Golden is a case study in Curry’s allure.  He tackles some pretty healthy issues in doing so, i.e., race, upbringing, entitlement and desire.

I’ll be honest though.  My main problem with Golden is that it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.  For example, if you had been paying attention to Curry’s ascension into NBA royalty like any good basketball fan should, then you’d know most every detail in the book.

The book mulls on unspectacularly and often repetitively.  That is until Chapter Eight when Thompson gets to the meat of the issue.  It’s hard to say anyone really hates Curry.  He’s one of the top selling jerseys and plays on a team that draws the highest ratings in the league.  When I saw him in Orlando, there were more fans in Curry jerseys than anything else and he played for the visiting team! 

The Warriors are a high-powered, up-and-down, barrage of threes kind of team that has flip-flopped its identity, which I suppose is only natural when you win too much.  Do you like ‘em?  Do you hate ‘em?  At the head of it all is the baby-faced assassin, just waiting to drop thirty on you and make it look effortless.  Thompson reminds us that this all happened faster than we could process.  And he’s right.

We knew who Curry was coming out of Davidson.  He took his team to the Final Four.  But the hype surrounding him coming out of college wasn’t like it was for most other NBA superstars.

Thompson traces Curry’s path, from NBA son to college and into the pros where he was ultimately surrounded with enough talent to win an NBA title and break records in the process.

But again, we knew that already.  Chapter Eight is where Thompson gets into the nuts and bolts of the perception of Curry, especially among his NBA brethren.  How much social truths reside in his statements is up to the reader to decide.  Thompson brings up the underlying assumption that any resentment of Curry is racially and socially biased…

“On the surface, it would seem that having a professional basketball player as a father would give a player a certain credibility.  But having that on the resume doesn’t scream pedigree as much as it screams privilege.  Curry represents those who had the smooth ride, who never had to play with busted shoes, who could afford fancy camps and travel tournaments.  The automatic assumption is that he got access and attention because of money, because of his NBA father, and not because of his game.”

Now anyone who has seen Curry play (or God forbid had to cover him) knows the kid can torch you.  He’s also far tougher than he looks, deceivingly so.  Although slight of frame by NBA standards, few other athletes in the game work as hard as he does.  His back-to-back MVPs are no fluke.

He was inspired by ACC schools not recruiting him, driven by the multiple guards drafted before him and Nike not being committed to him.  As if Curry needed more motivation to be great, these all fueled him, according to Thompson.  That and his faith.

Golden is a decent read.  It provides insight you might not otherwise have known, that is if you’re not a dedicated Curry fan.  I enjoyed it.  It’s a fair assessment to what Steph Curry means to the modern game.  I’m just not sure it’s as poetic as watching him play.

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9 Replies to “Book Review: Golden by Marcus Thompson II”

  1. Dell Curry instilled discipline, drive and a work ethic into both of his sons, Steph and Seth Curry. Can someone explain to me what it is that LaVar Ball is trying to do for and with his son , Lonzo Ball , the possible consensus number one overall pick for this upcoming NBA Draft ? Ball Sr. seems to be intent on torpedoing his son’s career before it has even begun, by making idiotic demands. That’s type of bull-crap that general managers , teams and sponsors will stay away from .

    Look for Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors to up their game over the remainder of the NBA Playoffs. They will like win through to the conference finals , ease through that and then avenge last year’s NBA Finals’ series loss. I don’t believe the Cleveland Cavaliers’ are as good as last season. They have yet to face anyone of note and as usual the Eastern Conference remains mediocre. None of the divisions or the conference itself are that competitive. The NBA really is a watered down product in so many ways.

  2. So Doc Rivers sees his team THE Los Angeles Clippers lay a goose egg on their home court, losing a game seven to the Utah Jazz. Ain’t nothing good coming out of LA over the next two seasons, in terms of the NBA .

  3. The guy is the best pure shooter I’ve ever seen. To do what he does at his size is amazing. He’s one of those transcendent players that hoopheads just have to watch. Isaiah Thomas is approaching that level for me too….Even though he wears that hideous green and white.

    …Maybe it’s the size thing for me…I remember back in the day the only non-Lakers players I actually found myself rooting for were the original Isiah Thomas and John Stockton.

    Grant Hill and Kobe faced that same backlash as pro athletes kids. Crazy because it seems almost par for the course nowadays as tons of second generation pros litter rosters in all sports. Hell even on his own team Curry isn’t unique. Klay Thompson’s dad is former Lakers Showtime member Mychal Thompson and the McAdoo kid on their bench is related to another former Showtime member, Bob McAdoo.

    Seemed unique back when Ken Griffey Jr and Barry Bonds were the guys, but nowadays it’s no big deal. Larry Nance Jr., Tim Hardaway Jr, Glenn Robinson Jr, Austin Rivers…I think Shaq’s kid is about to bust onto the scene soon too. Those are just off the top of the dome, but Curry is a once in a lifetime talent. And damn fun to watch.

  4. Yea, Al, I’m trying to put together my thoughts on Ball.

    That’s quite the circus they’re presenting there.

    I can’t wait to see the hissy fit he’ll throw when he son doesn’t get drafted number one overall.

    And re: the Clippers, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of team they parade out there next year and which players on their roster decided to look elsewhere.

    Five consecutive post-seasons having a lead in a series and getting bounced?

    That, my friend, is futility at its finest…. but also something Clippers fans should be accustomed to by now.

  5. Yea, Bleed, as good as all those players are, I still think (and I think you’d agree) that Curry is a pretty healthy step above the rest.

    Klay Thompson might be a close second because he’s pretty bad ass as well. Which makes what we’re watching so special. Those two together = sick.

  6. Chris

    La Var Ball , were he a female , he’d remind me of one of those mothers from the reality show ‘ Dance Moms’ . He’s become a pompous @ss , seeking fame and fortune for his child , making outlandish demands for his son, while not realizing the damage he’s now doing to Lonzo Ball and any chance the kid might have in the NBA . As talented as the kid might be , no owner or general manager in the NBA , is willing to put up with La Var Ball’s shtick and bull##it . Ball is making demands not only of corporate sponsors but also any team who’s said to have an interest in drafting his son. There you go Lakers’ fans and dare I say it , the idiots within the front office of the Sixers . The Colangelo family (joint head of Basketball Operations for the Philadelphia 76ers) couldn’t spot talent at this juncture if their collective lives depended on it. It will be another pitiful season for the Sixers this upcoming season (2017-18).

  7. Yea, Al, I’m not so sure that that Ball kid is the consensus number one pick. His dad sure is trying to make that happen though.

    A little too hard, don’t ya think?

  8. Pingback: Book Review: Return of the King by Brian Windhorst and Dave McMenamin | Sports Chump

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